Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nice Cooking Part Deux

I know how to spend a weekend. I went to the gym, burned off a few calories, then proceeded to pile them back on with pastries. I continued my experiment with cooking Mediterranean delights today with a favorite in southern France, pain au chocolat. Or, chocotastic doughy yumminess. I was exceedingly pleased with how these came out, although I can't really take any credit. Jaime helped me, and the cookbook (Vegan Brunch) was from Ryan Full. So, all I really did was listen to Jaime, follow directions, and make some yummy pastries. For me, however, that's a huge win.

These have a special place in my heart because of a trip Jaime and I took to Europe in the winter of 1999-2000. My parents were separating, I had just graduated college, and I was a little discomfited by everything going on in my life. Jaime and I flew to Italy, and traveled through Italy and France and Switzerland as a graduation present to me. It was a wonderful trip, perhaps our greatest vacation ever. We had been married so long we traveled together easily, with no arguments or disagreements about where to go or what to do.

A few days before New Year's eve we ended up in Nice, France. We decided to stay there, and spend the holiday relaxing on the chilly beach and eating wonderful food. No one in France was panicking about the Y2K nonsense, which shows that they are more sensible than Americans in at least one way. As one person there put it, Nice survived Roman invasion, marauding barbarians, and Nazis. It would still be there in 2001. That's just a sample of their wonderful attitude.

Jaime and I spent every morning walking in the cold, eating pain au chocolat. We would walk up the old streets, past beautiful old churches cottages. It was a lovely time. On New Year's Eve at midnight a beautiful French girl ran around kissing everyone and saying "Bonne Anne!" or something that meant happy New Year. Pain au chocolat makes me full and happy and transports me to that memory. And they look good too!

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