It goes without saying (or at least it should) that every day, every season, every menu for living should begin with the essence of life: a glass of water. There’s a place for that in healthy, balanced living, but I leave it to you to find it.These 18-24-inch wands of French bread are as much a symbol of France as the Eiffel Tower. Put in a bowl, cover with a damp tea cloth, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume. Brush with mixture of one beaten egg and one TB water. Pour two cups of hot water in a pan and place in preheated 450° F oven.And while French women don’t often have need to bake them today, when they are for sale on almost every commercial block of every town and city, there’s no substitute for the intoxicating aromas of freshly baked bread at home. Bake the baguettes for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 400° F and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. We tend to lay all our cards on the table, unlike the French.
I knew her in her teens, and she never baked bread. We would bake all day in aprons and then drink tea and eat our bread with honey.” The thought of her in an apron surrounded by all that homey seventies blond wood was so intoxicating that, to shake the spell, I resolved to start on a loaf that night.Even as children we say, “He loves me/He loves me not” when picking off flower petals and pondering love.A French girl, however, grows up with this refrain instead: “He loves me a little, a lot, madly, passionately, or not at all.” From the get-go, she thinks of love not in terms of black and white (either/or) but in shades of gray; love comes in a whole spectrum of possibilities. Do Americans approach dating differently than the French do? We Americans are very confessional and direct when sharing about ourselves on dates.For years, I told myself that I didn’t bake bread for the same reason I don’t drive a car: it’s a useful skill, unnecessary in New York.In New York, you don’t drive because you can take the subway practically anywhere, and you don’t have to bake bread because there are so many good bakeries.Like many men who cook a lot, I’m good at doing several things that look hard but aren’t—béarnaise sauce, tuna au poivre—and not very good at doing some things that are harder than they look.