One of the things I immediately noticed upon arrival in Paris is the inordinate number of men and women walking around with a baguette in their hand. "How can they do that? Don't they know they're just living up to the most basic French stereotype? They should all grow handlebar mustaches, smoke cigarettes and wear berets." Nothing made me giggle more than passing by a man casually munching on a phallogical loaf of bread the size of his torso as they jauntily headed down the Rue Desjardins Mont Blanc Croissant. Then I found myself in the line at Pain Pain Paris, being handed a baguette that was at the perfect temperature to hold, not too hot that I had to juggle it, but still so warm I could have cracked it open and seen steam emerge. I found myself being told that most good bakeries in Paris will ensure their baguettes are coming out of the oven every twenty minutes, so that every one bought has this perfect temperature. I found myself being told that the butchers will give you advice on how to cook their meat. That the cheese shops will pair their cheese with the bottle of wine in your hand. THAT THE MACAROONS ARE MADE FRESH EVERY DAY. Why would you buy your cheese, meat, and bread at one big-box grocery store, when they've been sitting out all day being breathed on by slovenly big-box grocery store employees? Why would you even set foot in a grocery store when all of these specialty stores are within a ten minute walk from your apartment? WHY IS THERE NOT A BERET STORE ON THIS BLOCK? HOW DID THIS HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE APPEAR ON MY FACE?
These are the kind of questions you begin to ask yourself when you learn to shop like a Parisian and not like an American jerk. Allow me to explain.Read More