Pretend Trip to France

If you’ve followed along from the beginning, you’ll know I have an unhealthy a perfectly normal case of francophilia. Instead of electing to take Spanish in high school like every other student in Texas, I chose Le Français, always dreaming that I would one day live there in a little pied-à-terre, surviving only on a diet of le vin rouge and toutes les fromages. (Yes, I actually meant all of the cheese!)

I love France so much that even my favorite artiste – Vincent van Gogh – was also enchanted by the country, although native to the Netherlands, and selected many of its landscapes for his paintings, which are arguably his best-known works.

Months ago I heard about an upcoming van Gogh exhibit at The Phillips Collection and its been on my calendar ever since. This past Sunday was supposed to be the last day and I had plans all weekend with Erin coming in town, so I planned to spend my Martin Luther King Day at the gallery, but two things happened: I realized the museum was not open on Mondays and also that the special exhibit was extended through this upcoming Sunday. This worked out well because they are open late on Thursdays and I just happened to have no plans last night. So I bought my ticket last week and have been looking forward to it for days!

ticket

Maybe my expectations were just too high! Although they showcased a few of my favorites (Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles, The Road Menders and The Bedroom at Arles) and I discovered a couple new favorites (Le Moulin de la Galette and House at Auvers), I was a little disappointed. Not sure what I expected, but I guess I thought there would just be … more.

photo

Perhaps if I were a talented artist interested in a deep dive of the technique, I’d have been more content with the exhibit. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely and of course I enjoyed an evening to myself surrounded by beautiful artwork. Alas, it was no Musée d’Orsay, but at least for the evening I was able to take a pretend return trip to France!

A Moveable Feast

When I first started this blog, I was preparing for a trip to France shortly after my college graduation. I was quite the lost little soul, having had a trying previous year, unsure of my next steps. I feel much more settled now.

Since then I have had several interesting jobs, new homes in different cities and some truly fantastic experiences.

This past week I’ve been contemplating the meaning of Easter and how it applies to life, but not necessarily in the religious sense.

Hope. Love. Joy. Rebirth.

I am extremely fortunate to have all of these in my life, unconditionally through friends and family. Although I’m very much the same person I have always been, this new sense of peace that has come over the last couple of years gives me a feeling of rebirth. Life definitely throws some curve balls, and there are bumps in the road, but if you’re open to the idea of renewal, you can use those moments to better yourself and better appreciate life. Hopefully everyone can take this day to reflect on how they’ve been given an opportunity for rebirth.

As I’ve been thinking about my own rebirth, I decided that I need to slightly tweak the name of this blog. Before it was titled “aventures de je ne sais pas quoi,” which loosely translates to “adventures of I do not know what.” As I said before, when I started writing, I was lost and confused.

Even though there are still unknowns on the path to my future, I do at least feel like I’m on a path now, instead of at a point where I have to choose between the yellow or red brick roads. (I still wonder where the red brick road leads… ) For this reason and in the spirit of Easter, I have decided to give my blog a little renewal itself with the new title  “aventures de la vie,” or “adventures of life” and a new visual theme.

Easter is a moveable feast in the sense that its spot on the calendar changes from year to year. In a different sense, Earnest Hemingway talked about Paris as a moveable feast, a place that stays with you as you travel.  (Impossible to believe I have yet to read A Moveable Feast, but you can bet your chocolate bunny that it is on my Kindle wishlist.) Obviously this is an idea with which I can relate – note the subhead of my blog and my slight obsession with Paris.

There are places you leave. And places that never leave you.

Life (not just Paris or Easter) is a moveable feast, with people, places, memories that come and go. They mold and shape who we are. I am blessed that life has fashioned me into the person I am, filled with hope, joy and love through rebirth.

Happy Easter!

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!