Thoughts From Richmond Airport, USA

-Does anyone really watch all the reruns of “Saved By The Bell” that run all morning on television?

-Why is the air-conditioning turned on full-blast, everywhere…in December?

-Why can’t they open a Rite Aid in Paris? I love a drugstore that sells yogurt, socks, and clocks with singing Bass.

-What insane person first decided to manufacture yogurt with gelatin in it?

-I am certain that Tyra Banks is a Vulcan.


-I am certain that Larry King will one day peel off his head and reveal himself to be an alien intent on sucking the content from American minds.

-Does anyone actually finish one of those jumbo caramel-flavored coffees with a pile of whipped cream from Starbucks?

My daily espresso, from Starbucks

-Does anyone actually buy a copy of USA Today or do the same copies float from person to person at airports?

-Why does Oprah appearing as a guest of David Letterman make national news headlines?

-It’s so easy to forget how vibrant and beautiful the colors of the changing leaves are when you drive around the east coast of America.

-Next year for Thanksgiving, I will give thanks there’s no French equivalent of Nancy Grace.


-Thank goodness for Starbucks.
Say what you want, but before they came along, it was impossible to get a decent cup of coffee almost anywhere in America when on the road.

-Three arguments why Americans should be constitutionally prohibited from making “croissants”




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  • December 2, 2005 9:32am

    You need a few Rite Aid’s in Paris, take all you want. Here in the US we seem to think that one must be situated on every corner. With 3 miles of my house there are four. Not to mention we also have Walgreens and the rest of the drug store mega-chains.

  • Lydia
    December 2, 2005 11:51am

    I totally agree about the croissants. Nothing like the real thing in Paris.

  • Steph
    December 2, 2005 2:00pm

    I’ll trade you one Rite Aid for a Publicis Drugstore.

    Sound good?

  • Chris
    December 2, 2005 2:21pm

    I guess you don’t remember that Oprah and Letterman have been fueding for the last…16 years or so. Remeber the whole ‘Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah” thing from Oscars?

  • kpgallant
    December 2, 2005 4:27pm

    Mon Dieu..You’re killing me!! LOL!! I really have to try to get to Sur La Table in SF, you crack me up! Why do they have those GIANT TV Screens in the American Airports on Full Blast?? Are people really craving a “Taco Bell” when they land in Detroit from an International flight?? I always thought that about Larry King, thanks for the confirmation!

  • tanvi
    December 2, 2005 8:43pm

    I agree completely with you on the gelatin in yogurt thing- is it really necessary?! It’s such a hassle because I’m vegetarian and am constantly on the lookout for gelatin in the ingredients list. It shows up in the most random of things…

  • Lisa
    December 3, 2005 2:26pm

    I will apply for an exception on the croissant ban but only because I was taught to make them by an M.O.F. Typical American croissants are cringe inducing.

  • December 3, 2005 2:30pm

    Oh my. It looks as though you have been bombarded by the worst of American culture, immediately. Well, of course. Not being able to eat gluten, I don’t miss croissants, because they’re never croissants here.

    Except in Seattle, at Le Painier. Or Besalu. I can’t even go there anymore.

    I do hope there are some lovely components to your trip, as well. I’m so looking forward to your class on Monday.

  • MissK
    December 4, 2005 2:28am

    Coffee must have been really bad if Starbucks is considered the best there in the US.

  • Lisa
    December 4, 2005 1:09pm

    MissK, it’s definitely not the best coffee in the US but it is nice to have the option of cappuccino almost anywhere. Before Starbucks, the best you could hope for on most roadtrips or in airports was watered-down crap from a diner or Dunkin Donuts.

    If you are ever in Chicago, I suggest coffee at Intelligentsia. They purchase green coffee from importers or, when possible, directly from the growers and they roast it daily. Baristas are trained for three months.

  • December 4, 2005 9:34pm

    I was thinking about his tonight. I don’t think people realize what life was like before Starbucks. I remember when I used to travel about 15 yrs ago… forget about getting any decent coffee. You were limited to diner-style brew no matter where you went. I’m not a big fan of Starbucks (I spent about 5 minutes there yesterday…truly, paralyzed with indecision, before leaving empty-handed) but when you have an 8am flight and need a cup of coffee or an espresso, that mermaid looks rather fetching!

  • December 4, 2005 10:04pm

    Hey David, I used to like Au Bon Pain before my tastes evolved. Ugh, they make cheaters’ croissants. They’re all puffy rather than flakey. They taste like doughy lard. One time I when I was there, a customer pointed at a cheese bagel and asked the clerk what it was. He confidently told her it was a danish. :-(

  • Giovanna
    December 5, 2005 1:52am

    Gotta agree about the Starbucks…truly not good coffee, but have you ever been in Amarillo early in the morning? Spotting a Starbucks seems pretty good then…

    When they first showed up here in Portland we were plenty thrilled…but we’ve gotten over it, and have many many other more interesting choices in town now. Stumptown…Ristretto…lots of choice. As for the yogurt question, I bet you’ve tried Strauss…only Whole Foods carries them up here–but I think their yogurt is delicious.

    Hope you enjoy your brief stay in Portland–maybe I’ll stop by Sur La Table and say hello!

  • Marilou
    December 5, 2005 11:03am

    I wish you would come back to Ohio. I had the best time in your class. Someday, if I could just stop buying cookbooks, chocolates, etc…. I dream of going on one of your tours! Your blog is a hoot! I look forward to reading it every chance I get.

  • Melissa (:
    December 5, 2005 2:11pm

    I must confess, when I returned from Paris, I uh… “smuggled” as many croissants as I thought would stay relatively fresh over the course of a day and three airports.

    Thankfully, there’s a nice little establishment in Bloomington, called the Bakehouse, which has the closest thing to decent croissants as I’ve ever seen in this country.