My Husband the Pusher

I totally blame DH for this.  I am now a pastry junkie.

DH traffics in baked goods.

He’s not a baker by trade or avocation, just a lover of all things carbohydrates.  Pre-DH, I was the poster child for Atkins, not on purpose, I just loved meat and cheese.  I have never met a sausage patty or piece of cheese I didn’t like.  Pastry and bread just were not on my radar.  Maybe it’s my Asian roots, rarely did I eat bread with my meals.  Bread was simply a piece of architecture that kept tuna salad or peanut butter from running down your arm as you ate it.

Pastry was a foreign concept.  I don’t have a sweet tooth.  Anything salty, on the other hand, combined with anything greasy can make me swoon….Doritos are banned from a 2 mile radius to our home.  I have been found after inhaling an entire bag, sitting with a satisfied smile as I licked the salt from my orange stained fingers.  Not a pretty sight on so many levels (although, let me tell ya, you can keep your pates or duck terrines, there is n-o-t-h-i-n-g as good as a bag of sour cream and green onion Doritos and a glass of cold Chardonnay).

In pre-DH days, the weekends were spent in shoe stores.  Now, they’re spent trekking through the city foraging for groceries for the upcoming week.  Come Saturday morning, we morph into a pair of squirrels gathering nuts for the upcoming winter.  And just like squirrels who burry their nuts in order to free their paws and cheeks so they can go off and gather some more, DH and I return home mid trip to drop off the bags of fruits and veggies from the farmers market, to put things in the fridge, ostensibly to keep the fish fresh, but I know it’s just to free the car’s trunk for more food.  As I grab my purse to head back out, I spy DH is doing his happy dance.  He knows our next stop is the bakery.

It goes without saying that one of the best things about San Francisco and Oakland is the availability of a wide an amazing array of things to eat.  We are especially blessed it a preponderance of bakeries, specifically French bakeries.  Despite my love for all things French, while in Paris, quelle horreur! I only had a polite appreciation of the bread and pastries…I’d dutifully eat my croissant with my morning café au lait, but I was just waiting for lunch so I could peruse  their cheese shops or their charcuteries  where I could buy hunks of salty smoked  sausages or pork terrines.

As soon as we moved to Oakland, even before he found a route to his office, DH traced a path to the nearest French bakery.  When I first visited the tiny store with him, I was struck by the lace curtains, the tiny wrought iron tables dotting the sidewalk out front—how French!  When we opened the jingling in front door, we were greeted with air that was sweet with milk and sugar, and two glass cases filled to the brim with pastry confections.  My joy turned to surprise as soon as two women appeared from behind a  chintz rose cabbaged curtain.  They both greeted DH by first name, one offering him a cookie, “Here we just made a batch of your favorite ones!”  My eyebrows arched.  I suddenly had that awkward feeling as if  I had just met his secretary and saw that she was Angelina Joli’s double.  Why were these women so familiar?  How did they know his name?  And why is he grinning?  “Oh, Monsieur comes in every morning!

He just sheepishly shrugged his shoulders, as he brushed the crumbs from the corner of his mouth.  He was right, this the home of the good stuff.

The French, I think, invented bread.  Okay, maybe not, but they took the idea of dough to stellar heights.  Each week, we buy a huge boulot for the week.  It’s a crusty football heavy and dense but with a contradicting fluffy white interior wickedly designed to soak up melted butter.

Besides our bread, we always buy a collection of goodies for desert: a series of cute petite canneles (chewy, chocolate and creamy); a bag of rainbow colored macaroons; and cream and berry filled tarts.  Usually, despite their amazing aroma, I let DH have them—oddly he never pushes the point that ‘sharing makes it taste better’ like he does when I put beets in the salad.  I figure that there is a caloric splurge with my name on it in the form of a fat wedge of brie waiting in the fridge.  DH gets the sweets, I get the savory.  He never opens a box to find his cookies missing, or I never found the cheese or salami gone.  This is the divine order to our universe.  Until, that is, he pushed to cross over to his side.

One day, he came home with a small white bag, inside was piece of dough, shaped like a neat package and covered with a light snow of powdered sugar.  Interesting.  It was at once flakey and dense.  He said to try it.  I took a tiny nip off of a corner.  Then a bigger bite.  It was heaven.  Oh my word.  My eyes rolled back into my head.  Once you  bit open this flaky package you were met with layers upon layers of buttery pastry surrounding a thick flood of lemony custard—not too tart, not too sweet but as creamy as heavy satin.  Meyer lemons have never tasted so good.

I was quickly hooked.  Yesterday, the ladies offered us scones hot from the oven.  We got the box home – how we manage the modicum of civility to refrain from just pulling over on a side street and stuffing ourselves with these things beats me.

“You’ll love these,” DH speaks with the knowledge of a long time patron.  Rosemary chocolate?  Not being a real fan of scones, I brush it aside.  As I recluse the box, I see a hunk of dark chocolate poking from a corner flirting with me.  I give in and decide to take a bite, and another, and then the scone was gone.  What an interesting combination!   The rosemary and chocolate together conspire to play a weird head game on your tongue.

At first bite, you expect something rich and savory to follow, hmmm? Perhaps chicken, no?  Or potatoes?   Instead, you’re met with an explosion of deep dark, bittersweet chocolate.  Totally amazing.

I now have the habit.  I crave things flakey and sweet.  I totally blame DH.

Published in: Uncategorized on December 1, 2009 at 2:52 AM  Leave a Comment  

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