Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dreaming of: Paris & Making Macaroons

I have been fortunate enough to visit Paris 3 times. It is a place I constantly dream of returning to and I am very, very envious any time I hear of someone who has actually gotten to live there.
Actually, I have traveled all over France and I liked every single bit of it, a lot, but there is just something about Paris.
It is beautiful.
Even the food is beautiful.
Like these Parisian macaroons. Every time I see them, I swoon.
Because they remind me of Paris. Because they are so good to eat. And because they are just so lovely.

It's funny, for all the amazing food there is to be found in Paris, I haven't eaten in many of the restaurants. The first time I was there, I only ate at the train station and, GASP, McDonald's. Yes, you read that right. It was late, I was 19, had 7 or 8 teenagers in my charge and we had to stay within a 2 or 3 block radius of said train station. Sadly, many American teens are not adventurous when it comes to eating abroad. They want a taste of home. They want fast food.

I will say this. That McDonald's had beer on tap, served wine and shrimp cocktail. That's a pretty classy McDonald's.

Anyway, the next time I went to Paris, I vowed to eat some good food. And we did. Our first hotel was on Rue Cler, where there is a wonderful produce market, a boulangerie, and a fabulous little crepe stand.
That is where I first tasted real crepes. The kind that are folded up, wrapped in paper and you eat them just like that, with your hands. First I had mushrooms with cheese. Then for desert, butter, lemon and powdered sugar.

We didn't have much money, so we ate a lot of picnics. Assembled from the various shops on Rue Cler, we'd come away with a perfect meal to eat in our tiny room or sitting near the Seine. We ate in a small cafes and they were very good too.

After we spent 5 weeks touring more of France, and then Italy and Switzerland, we returned to Paris. This time we stayed near Rue Mouffetard and enjoyed the amazing food market that lines it. I love to watch Amalie because they show the market and I can say, "we've been there!"
We picnicked again and tried a few more cafes. We never ate at any fancy or famous restaurants. We just didn't have the cash. But it doesn't matter--we'll be back.

Even if you have to eat on the cheap in France, there are always the pastries. They are just amazing. When we were in Italy, the coffee was fabulous, but the pastries were lacking. And in Paris, just looking in a bakery window would take my breath away. Everything is just so pretty.
I love that.

Ever since those trips to Paris, I have wanted to make these Parisian macaroons. But I haven't. Why not? I can't tell you. I am rather practical when it comes to the kitchen. If it seems complicated, time consuming, full of many ingredients I don't have or something I may have to try several times to perfect, I don't often try it.
It's sad really.
I am trying to overcome that. My biggest obstacle right now is time. But I think the next time I have a Saturday afternoon to myself, (and I do get those sometimes because I am married to a marvelous and wonderful man) I am going to try these beauties.
I think they would be a lovely cookie to have in my repertoire. Imagine showing up for a baby shower, or book club with these. You might get some oohs and ahhs.
And, you'll just feel really good about yourself.

I found this recipe here. And here is another one, more complex and more famous.
If you try them before I do, let me know. I'd love to hear your tips.
Bon appetite, mes amis!

1 comment:

Four Flights said...

so where are the macaroons in your pictures? i imagine any little one would just love these for the gorgeous colors alone!