One of the joys of living in the food-obsessed culture of France, is learning all the cheater’s secrets. For one, I’ve learned the French are guilty of takeout and the prepared foods isle of the supermarche. Have a handful of friends stopping by for an aperitif? Why not swing over to the local Picard (the sterile neighborhood frozen foods shop) for a handful of delicacies (shrimp toasts, savory cakes, molten chocolate cakes) to pull out of the oven when guests arrive? Or why not run to the local Italian traiteur to create a spread of beautiful cheeses, preserved tomatoes, and Italian charcuterie. Secondly, there are plenty of ready-made products in the grocery store. Who has time to cook, when quinoa, lentils, and rice are ready to be zapped onto the table? Another supermarket favorite of mine is the ready-made puff pastry and pie crusts which make quiches and tartes a cinch to whip up. The little girl I babysit for explained the simplest and easiest apple tarte she makes with her father. A thin layer of apple sauce is spread onto a prepared pie crust. Sliced apples are fanned on top to give it the touch of the boulanger. Voila. To my chagrin, it happened to be vegan and perfectly timed for a luncheon for some vegan friends from Brooklyn who were in town! Enjoy.