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Bread | Du Pain


bread, market, France

baguette, croissants, France

bread, France

As a teenager my husband could finish an entire baguette in one sitting, as part of his meal. Now he's older and less voracious but still eats an astonishing amount overall (just ask our weekly grocery bill!). But I chalk that up to his being French. He'd probably say the same thing about me and rice.

Thankfully the ubiquitous traditional French baguette often satisfies the bread cravings in our household (which includes two growing boys). Occasionally, we'll pick up a Pain de Campagne or Brioche. So as Bread Profiles go, generally we straddle the line between Authentics and Bipolars. What on earth am I talking about, you ask...

According to Abdu Gnaba (Anthropologie des mangeurs de pain) who was featured in the French blog L'Art de Manger by Ariane Grumbach, French bread eaters can be loosely profiled based on how we consume du pain. The list below is not exhaustive. So which one(s) are you:

  • The Authentic - You are attached to tradition. Always have bread with structured meals. In general, you consume the traditional loaf or baguette.
  • The Bipolar - Trapped between respect of the tradition and the desire for novelty, you choose between the baguette and specialty breads.
  • The Out of Sync - Not a large-scale bread consumer and rather indifferent to food consumption in general. You turn to the most basic baguette or factory-baked bread.
  • The Wanderer - Bread is not a pillar of your feeding. You tend to replace bread by its equivalents, like pizza - but possibly to the detriment of nutritional balance. You are more likely to have an industrial bread loaf in your cupboard than to pass by a bakery.
  • The Hedonist - In search of pleasure surrounding bread (as you undoubtedly do with other foods). You're always ready to taste new breads to satisfy your curiosity. Surely a good customer of specialty breads and artisanal baguettes.
  • The Nomad - You have a hurried rhythm so bread must fit into your lifestyle. You are undoubtedly a customer of sandwiches more so than the familiar baguette.

More Bread reads:

The Best Baguette in Paris - [BBC, May 2012]

The 10 Best Baguettes in America - [Bon Appétit, May 2012]

20 Great American Bread Bakeries - [Saveur, May 2012]

Summer | L'été


Arcachon, beach, plage, France

sand, shells

sand, beach, plage, France

beach, plage, France

In Southwest France's Atlantic Coast, summer is at once simple and sublime adorned with sunshine, sand, seashells. And the beaches are refreshingly intimate; they have smaller crowds and less commercialism than their southern sisters and stateside counterparts...

Quiet à Paris


Jardin des Plantes, chairs, France

There are infinite corners to find quiet in Paris. 
One of my favorites is at Le Jardin des Plantes in the 5ème...

Châtillon-Coligny & Old Friends

Chatillon-Coligny, shutters, France

Chatillon-Coligy, France

Chatillon-Coligny, painted door, France

To know a land somewhat, its special character, the qualities which make its individuality, 
the temperament and life of its people is a process of gradual absorption, 
of sympathetic perception - Paul Strand

A few steps away from the 11th century Église Saint-Pierre in the picturesque French village of Châtillon-Coligny in central France are crumbling cobblestone streets that, though quiet and fairly hidden, remain adorned with all the charm and history that characterizes France. Each wooden door and shuttered window stands dignified ready with a story to tell...

On my family's annual stop to Châtillon-Coligny (to visit my mother-in-law), I always return to this area. It's like coming to see old friends that upon your arrival, rise to greet you in the most humble and beautiful of ways...

Medicine Cabinet | Armoire à Pharmacie

arnica arnica montana

Yesterday my son slid underneath our iron dining chair (trying to catch a ball) only to have the back of the chair land solidly on his left cheek. Oouuuch!! Not sure what was worse - the piercing scream he let out or the hit...  so after big hugs and an ice pack, I took off to the medicine cabinet for my miracle cure: arnica, a homeopathic treatment widely used in France. This isn't an endorsement of any kind, but something I just had to share because:

Last year when I walked into my son's classroom to pick him up from school, I found his face bruised and bloodied from a bad fall onto the pavement at recess. I thought he had been beaten up, or worse. His teacher calmly walked over and authoritatively recommended arnica, lauding its effectiveness. "C'est très efficace," she smiled.  At the time, I wasn't  well versed on homeopathy but have since become a big fan of this "alternative medicine" that uses the body's natural healing system, has been around for centuries and most importantly, just plain works. So I tried it on my son and... immediately the swelling went down and within 1-2 days, the bruising on his face virtually disappeared - as in no trace of black and blue. I could go on and on how amazed I am by this product, but I'll just say that today my armoire à pharmacie (medicine cabinet) is never without the following:

  • arnica cream (topical) and arnica montana (pellets - as shown above) for bruises
  • oscillococcinum for the onset of a cold and body aches 
  • calendula cream for burns, scrapes and cuts

I've since learned that members of my French family swear by arnica. It's available in all the pharmacies in France and fortunately now stocked in the United States as well.

This is a French teacher's tip to me (and believe me French tips don't come often) and my tip (as a mother of two boys) to you ... stay safe!
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