A while back, there was a spate of books about how to ‘sneak’ ingredients that are ‘healthy’ into food for your kids, to trick them into eating better. (Raymond Sokolov wrote an excellent rebuttal to that.) And recently there have been a few books written about how kids in France eat, and behave, better than their counterparts elsewhere. I can’t really comment on them in-depth because I haven’t read the books, but I do know two things from my own observations.
Results tagged cake from David Lebovitz
I don’t usually venture out Sunday mornings because after years in the food business, I’ve learned that the one day I was sure not to be working would be Sunday. (I’d eventually made it my sole criteria when choosing where I’d work that I’d only work in places that were not open on Sunday, or for breakfast). I also didn’t think that it was fair that I should inflict myself on others before mid-day. And when I first moved to France, I was happy that only markets were open on Sunday, although I was a little vexed to find out that every store and shop was closed – until I got hip to what a good idea it was since it forced everyone in town to relax and loosen up for a day.
I’ve been dying to try some of the new “good” coffee places that have opened up in Paris but since I don’t drink coffee later in the afternoon (the disadvantage of a lifetime of working nights are persistent sleep issues) the idea of crossing town for an afternoon cup wasn’t in the cards. However since it was Sunday morning and the rest of the city was barely waking up, and I saw the sun finally shining outside, I took a leisurely hike up the barren streets and boulevards near Montmartre to Kooka Boora, for a cup of Australian coffee.
Ever since I heard word it, I’ve been anxious to try Helmut Newcake, what’s been heralded as the first gluten-free bakery in Paris. While a couple of bakeries and natural food shops offer gluten-free bread, they’re invariably made somewhere where other breads are made (risking cross-contamination with wheat flour), or the salesclerks simply stack the gluten-free breads with the regular ones, which is little comfort to those who can’t tolerate eating gluten.
When I was in Australia, a couple of interesting things happened while I scooting around Sydney. One was that I went on the hunt for Lamingtons, and a number of people offered to send me recipes, but didn’t. And two, I got quite a few messages from people asking if I was coming to Melbourne. Then a food festival there rolled around and even though I woke up at all hours, checking my messages night and day, an invite to that city never landed in my Inbox.
But instead of being tough and bitter, I decided to dive into something tender and sweet, and was compelled to whip up my own recipe for Lamingtons. (And it’s hard to remain mad at anyone in Australia because, truly, everyone was exceptionally nice to me during my visit to Sydney.) I did call upon one of those nice folks, the master of the Lamington, Matt Rothman, when deciding whether to go with a cocoa powder icing or one made with chocolate. And he responded that he makes either, depending on whether he wanted the glaze to soak in to the cake a little (cocoa powder) or for it to be more of a thicker icing (chocolate).
It’s interesting reading some of the talk regarding if the internet is ready to replace cookbooks. Sure, there are people furiously clicking around wherever they can for a chocolate cake recipe. And there are hundreds of thousands of chocolate cake recipes that you can find using a search engine. But to me, that’s not enough. When I want to spend my precious time and funds making something to eat, I don’t want to merely find a recipe. There’s nothing compelling about a downloadable list of ingredients. It just leaves me cold. I want the author or writer to tell me about the recipe, what inspired them to create it, or how it came about.
I want to know why someone chose that recipe, what twists they gave it, what made the cake or casserole they were making so special to them that they wanted to share it. Was it an unusual ingredient? Did they like the description they read of it elsewhere? Were they inquisitive about how a root vegetable from their garden could make its way into a chocolate cake?
My search for the perfect Lamington ended this morning. If you don’t know what a Lamington is, you’re not alone. Yes, even I hadn’t heard of one, until a posted a picture of the Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows from The Sweet Life in Paris on my Flickr page and they were mistaken for Lamingtons.
In Paris, a city full of spectacular pastry shops, it really takes something major to grab me by the shoulders and shake me to attention. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the other ones, but when you see something as jaw-dropping as the pastries at Café Pouchkine, you can’t help but stop and stand at full attention.