Saturday, September 25, 2010
Few images are as quintessentially French as the baguette. When I buy a baguette I always get a jaunty Frenchness to my step, and feel quite chic when I break a piece off at home. But invariably I eat some, enjoy, eat a bit more, get full and then leave the rest to go hard overnight.
I have decided to make the baguette a more regular part of my life, as I always feel more stylish breaking up a chunk than pulling a slice of square bread out of a plastic bag. What I do now is:
a) buy the baguette (yes I could learn to make them like Anne Barone does, but my breadmaking has turned out a little doughy for my taste so baking them is for another day when I’m in the mood to experiment) and then,
b) slice into 10cm/4 inch pieces.
The baguettes I most recently bought had exactly six per loaf. I then freeze them in a ziplock bag (after enjoying that day’s piece fresh). The day I want a piece I take it from the freezer, either in the morning, or at a pinch half an hour before I want it. They thaw very quickly at room temperature and if you’ve frozen them on the day of purchase they taste almost as good.
I have mostly been having them for lunch, either as is alongside a complete (‘with protein’) salad or split in half and both flat sides covered in something if having a side salad (raw veges and salad ingredients, no protein).
Two ‘somethings’ I have enjoyed lately are:
1 egg, hardboiled and fork mashed with a small dollop of Best Foods light mayo and capers, or
1 small portion of cold roast-chicken, cut up fine and mixed with the same small dollop of Best Foods light mayo and finely diced raw celery.
Top with a crunch of black pepper
It’s nice to have the bread always handy, and even though the portions seem to have shrunk since I cut them (and I thought to myself ‘should I have two?’) I have only ever had the one piece, and never thought afterwards ‘I’m still hungry’. I’m always perfectly sated. Portion control! It works!
The other night when I reheated the rest of my pasta bake and served it with a salad dressed with equal parts extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (aka ‘the lazy dressing), my husband, whose favourite thing in the world is bread but doesn’t have it often said, ‘do you have some bread in the freezer?’ When I placed the baguette down in front of him (resisting saying ‘Et voila) he remarked that our table looked very Italian, and that the bread in the picture looked like it completed the meal.
If I was Sabine, living in my Paris apartment, with a boulangerie on the corner which I passed each night on my way home from the Metro station, then I would buy a half-baguette and eat it fresh. I can pretend that’s me when I have my piece of baguette with lunch and it actually has made me feel more chic all day.
That’s what it’s about for me, adding in little touches of chic Frenchness to my life, and this in turn encourages me to act chicly (in all ways, not just with food).