How many baguettes is too many?

I asked myself this question the first week I moved to Paris. After seeming to go through baguettes so easily I wondered if there should be some limit on my baguette consumption. I'm not usually one for restrictions - the sheer thought of it makes me want to do the opposite, just because. But I wondered if there was a time and a place. A friend advised me that the baguettes would let me know when I had overstepped my allotted consumption, and though I do believe in strange happenings, I don't bank on my baguette talking to me. So, I carried on about my baguette eating days and forgot about the question of limits - I was living in Paris after all.

You can tell a lot about someone by the way they eat their baguette. Biting the end off just after buying it is so irresistible.... fresh out of the boulangerie it begs to be bitten. I wondered if this was rude - somehow lacking in manners. With baguette in hand it somehow didn't matter what the rest of the world thought. What's that Wayne Dyer saying - "what you think of me is none of my business" - yes, that's how I choose to walk through the streets of Paris eating my baguette.  Then there is the matter of once you have it home do you cut it with a knife or pull it to pieces with your hands? One little bit at a time. Cutting it implies some sense of order. Some deeper plan. Some boundaries of control. Who doesn't wish to make order and sense out of this life that we live? But cutting my baguette isn't going to help me with this matter, I quickly realized.

The best thing to do really is let Duncan grab the baguette from it's bag. He always seems impressed with it as he wanders around munching it's perfection.

It can't really be thought of as a 'loaf' of bread. Or so I told myself. I found comfort in seeing people walking through the streets with four baguettes in their bags. Who were they going home to? How many people lived at that home? Or was it all just for them? We were taught in culinary school that the shelf life of a baguette is 7 hours. It seems to go hand in hand with French culture. They buy fresh food daily. None of this buy for the week mentality. And so I concluded that the baguette can and should be bought freely without a thought as to how many is too many. Other people around me didn't seem to have this question - and even if they did - it wouldn't be any of my business to judge, right?

Le Beurre

I've waited a full 18 days since moving to Paris to buy butter... and now I'm making up for lost time. I LOOK for things to put it on.... Baguettes, croissants, crackers. And I'm one step away from eating it by the spoonful (which I really might as well be, if you saw the amount spread on my baguette). It's that good. Maybe it was the way I was raised... I'm not sure (I won't go into those stories right now and taint the beauty of the butter). People may argue that a croissant can't possibly need more butter - (do you know how much is already in the dough?!) and those same people will say that having toast with peanut butter & butter together is disgusting (I once had to listen to a friend explain how gross her x-husband was for doing just that - I was shocked to hear she would think that it was anything but truly divine). And the great thing about butter in Paris is, you can buy any kind and it's amazing. I tested this thought out by buying a fancy butter I stumbled across in a great cheese shop (more about the cheese place at a later date...) and lo and behold I actually liked the supermarket kind better. Go figure. Maybe it's because I'm American. No, but really - it wasn't a true fair comparison because one was salted and the other unsalted (it was how I rationalized buying the second one) and I like unsalted better to begin with.

I found myself the other night eating spoonfuls of rice, butter and a sprinkle of salt. So satisfyingly delicious. Try it the next time you're feeling lost and alone in the world. I swear it helps. Oh, the joy of butter.