I finally reconnected with my inner bookworm last week. I meant to do that, oh, 8 months ago when I visited an old friend and she lent me Julia Child’s My Life in France. But work got in the way, and I eventually returned it without reading a word later in the spring.
My mom, completely unaware, found a copy of the same book while sorting through dusty boxes of my aunt’s old things, and she sent it to me in the mail. I cracked open the cover, turned to Chapter 1, and immediately immersed myself in the magic of Paris.
The paragraphs brought back scenes from two summer ago of fresh baguettes, wandering along the Seine, and Mom’s favorite apricot pistachio tart. But one of the most vivid memories came from our exploration of Île Saint-Louis.
My parents and I stumbled across Saint-Louis-en-I’Île, a small yet magnificent church, just before lunch. After admiring the architecture and stately pipe organ, we started off down the street to find food. The colorful display of pastries in a random boulangerie caught Mom’s eye, and we entered the small shop to order.
While Mom and Dad both pointed at a fougasse (like a French bread pizza), I requested a small quiche in my rusty French. The owner smiled, asked if I wanted it “chaud” (warmed), and I replied, “Non, merci!” After he wrapped up our meal in a paper bag, we walked over to the garden behind the Notre Dame to eat.
Studded with bits of pink and green, I fully expected the quiche to be ham and spinach. But with the first briny bite, I realized I really needed to brush up on my French—it was salmon! Slightly too salty for my taste, I traded with Dad, who happily munched away on the rest of my lunch.
And now, reading about all of Julia’s adventures at Le Cordon Bleu, I ache to go back to eat my weight in tarts and croissants and climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. But until I win the lottery—or at least earn a few more pennies blogging!—I’ll stay in my own kitchen and recreate the quiche I thought I was ordering instead!