the long-awaited croissant post

this post was promised to stevieK a long time ago and i didn’t have the chance to type it up until now. so first i am going to start with the history of the croissant and then go into my detailed description. hope y’all enjoy!

history of the croissant from http://www.ochef.com/

Many people have heard that the croissant was created in 1686 in Budapest,
Hungary by a courageous and watchful baker, at a time when the city was being
attacked by the Turks. Working late one night, he heard odd rumbling noises and
alerted the city’s military leaders. They found that the Turks were trying to
get into the city by tunneling under the city’s walls. The tunnel was destroyed
and the baker was a hero, but a humble hero — all he wanted in reward was the
sole right to bake a special pastry commemorating the fight. The pastry was
shaped like a crescent, the symbol of Islam, and presumably meant that the
Hungarians had eaten the Turks for lunch. The problem with this story is that
it’s all made up. It first showed up in the first version of the great French
food reference Larousse Gastronmique, in 1938. Later on, the story switched
locations to Vienna, during the Turkish siege there in 1863, but that was also a
fabrication. The sad thing is, the truth in this case is not nearly as
interesting as the myth. No one knows when or where the first croissant was
baked, but it was definitely in France and certainly not before 1850. The word
was first used in a dictionary in 1863. The first croissant recipe was published
in 1891, but it wasn’t the same kind of croissant we are familiar with today.
The first recipe that would produce what we consider to be a flaky croissant
wasn’t published until 1905, and, again, it was in France.


i often wonder when i am eating the croissants here if they are just subconsciously better because i’m actually in france? or are they really just better?
i think the second

so flaky on the outside, shiny and golden
alternating shades – light like butter cream and dark like caramel
layered like the rings of a tree stump
almost chewy on the inside
melts in your mouth like warm m&ms
layers swirling around like a cinnamon roll
revealing air pockets that make the dense dough somewhat fluffy

sometimes they are eaten with jam
always strawberry
consistency like the juice from the fruit
dripping if you don’t eat it fast enough

update: i did a little research on the recipe for croissants and to my question of “are they actually better in france?” the answer is yes. in america we don’t really have the type of butter that is apparently best for making croissants so they are actually better in france for a real reason and not just my subconscious!

first class!

2/4/2008

i’m on the flight from paris to philadelphia, finally! we “slept in” this morning and had time to visit our last boulangerie and take our pastries to a nearby cafe for coffee.

it took us no more than 30 minutes to get to the airport from our hotel room. we had no problems with line 5 today and as soon as we made it down the stairs to the B3 to cdg there was an express train waiting for us which only made one stop before the airport, cutting out at least 30 minutes of the trip.

we checked in, did some duty-free shopping, and went to the first class lounge. dad had champagne and i had a couple mimosas, both dom perignon. i used the free access computers and dad of course loaded my bag with some snacks from the bar.

about an hour before departure we headed to the gate and were served more drinks as soon as we boarded the flight – see dad’s entry a little later for our story of why we were on first class!

now i have had 2 mimosas prior to boarding, 2 after boarding, 3 cape cods, and 2 glasses of wine all on us airways, not to mention a 4-course meal and hot tea! nope, i’m not complaining one bit about the delay!

last day in france… again

1/4/2008

i should be at home, in dallas… but we had some difficulties today and i swear we’re cursed. our train leaving avignon was 30 minutes late. then we arrived in paris at gare de lyon, one of the biggest metro stations in paris and absolutely none of the ticket machines took bills, only coins. since we had to have rer tickets to get to the airport i had to stand in one of two lines. one i could buy the tickets full price, the other i could use our railpasses for a large discount. of course in the toss up i chose heads when it was actually tails. another 30 minutes wasted, we had a little over and hour and a half to make our flight. we or course waited and waited for the first train because there was some sort fo accident in the metro. the second train we took went to the airport. some trains are express and don’t make each stop along the way… we of course were so lucky to get one that does, doubling our trip time.

we finally make it to cdg with about an hour to spare – however by the time we catch the shuttle and get to the counter, it’s only about 45 minutes. apparently some law has them shut down check-in an hour before departure so we just missed it! the next flight is the same time tomorrow so a $400 transfer/rebooking fee, 65 euro hotel room, and a few other costs later… here we are in the 19th arrondisement. of course we also had some train problems with line 5 on the way here. for some reason we had to evacuate the car then as soon as everyone was off they told us to get back one… then of course to get back off again as soon as we were all back on!

let me tell you though, other than missing my massage tomorrow this has been one of the best nights in france! we checked in and went almost immediately to the bar. before walking in we read the awning over the door and thought the bar was named shutz. delirious as we were, we made some good friends. dad made up a story about his mom being named shutz, what we thought was the name of the bar. come to find out it’s a beer they serve there… they ended up giving us 6 nice beer glasses and a large beer mug which we intended to pay for as a souvenir to give kevin, hence the reason for the made-up story to begin with!

we ate sushi for dinner, both of us saying “screw the french food!” afterwards dad went back to the bar and i went to get some coffee and a crepe. believe you me, if i was staying in france one more night, i was eating a crepe! dad finally joined me after a little confusion. we shared a nutella and banana crepe then came back to the hotel to rest for what we hope will be a trip home tomorrow!