Places, France #20: Eat Real French Bread
There are some things that should just be rock solid. Abs, alibis, and rocks for instance. But bread is not one of them. And no one knows this better than the French, who have perfected the art of mustache twirling and bread baking through years of experience. Nothing beats the crumbly outer shell that gives way to that delicious, soft, chewy inside.
Even the words “French bread” have been known to make me chomp on whatever happens to be available (mostly my own arm or someone else’s, but I’m not above nibbling on phones or the corner of a desk), so you can imagine my delight when I was finally able to taste the real thing when we landed in France. The bread that I buttered with a knife that was more like a spoon on the plane was decent (airplane security and all that; thank goodness knives have learned to masquerade as spoons over the years or utensil violence would be out of hand), but it didn’t taste half as good as the bread that was sure to come.
I was not disappointed; true French bread is unbeatable. (How do you tell if it’s real French bread? You wonder. Well, you have to see if it says “Oh Mon Dieu” when you surprise it. How one surprises bread, I haven’t figured out yet).
However, you can be fairly certain that all the bread in Paris is of the French variety, and you can find this delicious baked good in any shop you look. It’s as though the entire city is screaming: French bread: the greatest thing since sliced bread! Okay, so maybe there are actually bread bakers in France running through the streets with this little advertisement, or I could have actually just adapted an old phrase in a somewhat uncreative manner. Although, the whole evolution of the phrase has been pretty sad when you really look at it. Sliced bread’s slogan was “Sliced Bread: the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. And before that it was “Wrapped Bread: the greatest forward step in the baking industry since the invention of bread in the Upper Paleolithic period 30,000 years ago”. And before that it was just: “Dinosaurs: Roar.” (There were no marketing majors back then; give them a break, okay?).
And if we’re really being honest, there are a lot of things better than sliced bread. Like maybe penicillin, or helicopters, or the Internet. Shouldn’t we start using those things as the measure of humanity’s creativity and brilliance? It’s just a suggestion. But, bringing it back to the topic at hand here, French bread is better than all these things combined (you heard me right…it’s better than a Wifi-connected helicopter transporting penicillin). You question me now…but let me ask you this: Can you eat a Wifi-connected helicopter transporting penicillin? I rest my case.
And I leave you with some quality exceptions to cultural rules:
1. You should never punch someone in the face. Unless they’re attacking you, or they insulted your mother.
2. You should never call your Spanish professor “Mom”. Unless, of course, she is your mom.
3. You should never play with your food. Unless you happen to have two baguettes. Then, by all means, joust: