My conversations with fellow American expats are always peppered with the woes of French bureaucracy and an insatiable longing for peanut butter. I have recently found my peanut butter fix at Asian grocery stores at a much more reasonable price than alongside the corn syrup and marshmallow Fluff at overpriced American epiceries. However, there is nothing that has me reaching for spoon faster than a 40 (oz) of real American peanut butter. Since choosy moms choose JIF, I just happily received a jumbo jar in the mail from my mother. Matched with a smear of Bonne Maman, the mother of all jams and jellies, I can candidly report that peanut butter & quince jelly translate beautifully to baguette. Kid tested, mother approved gourmandise.
We’ve set a date! The renovations are wrapping up in our new place. And we are set to move in next week. But sweet nostalgia is sinking in. I’ll miss our untamed little garden out back. The warm tradition at our local boulangerie. The peeling paint. And the curtains of cobwebs. The assortment of wildlife that creep into our bathroom. The defunct washing machine which serves as our only counter space. The scars on my shoulders reminding me of our ongoing war against bedbugs. The upstairs neighbors and their Saturday morning smooth jazz sessions. Wait a minute, let’s blow this joint!
Even thought the winters in Paris are a moderate step up from the brutal winters I have known in Chicago and New York, there is still nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup. This is one of the things my mom always whipped up on weeknights when I was a kid. A leftover chicken would make a rich tortilla soup. Or a few pantry basics would inspire an avgolemono. Even if the soups were quick, she would always steal a few moments to make her famous cheese muffins. Turns out the trusty recipe was found in the recipe booklet of our avocado green blender. Or we would quickly whip up some baking powder biscuits together. My American friend Catherine just returned from the States gifting me with a jar of apple butter. This brought me back to the Midwestern winters of my childhood. With no further haste or nostalgia, I had to make biscuits and an accompanying soup.
C is convinced that soup is strictly an appetizer. But if I dress it up with some homemade quick bread, he doesn’t complain. I can see why he feels this way though; I’ve noticed that soup in France is usually pureed. We don’t have a blender, one of the wedding gifts that never transpired. So I have to dig back into my mental archives for other ideas. I never ate much lentils growing up. But when slowly stewed with leeks, celery, and garlic, they could have easily been in my mom’s soup repertoire. Recipe to come… Bisou!