miscellaneous, drivel, potentially useful information, tom being tom

…returning home…

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It’s close to halloween – the jet lag from the trip never kicked in – or maybe I just never recognized it, and I’m itching to say something reflective about my trip… I wish I had some profound thoughts about it all, but so much is still a swirl of stimulation that I don’t know that I have anything cohesive to offer about it. What, after all, can you say to someone who has never embarked on such a trip? What can you say to someone who has? Eventually, it just becomes a personal experience that will only ever be your own, without words or images that ever do it justice or allow it to be shared.

There’s something lovely and fascinating about that for me, though. It is mine, and only mine, and just like letting chocolate melt on your tongue, it’s something that is wonderful in the way it captures your attention to it… The first real profound thought I had was in Rome, and it was regarding Florence – the birthplace of the Renaissance. In Florence I found myself thinking back to a week prior, being in Amsterdam, seeing the different and unique take on art, architecture and culture that took hold there. I found myself thinking that I finally understood why so many people left Europe for America, and why America is so unique. I realized that the Renaissance could only occur in a place like Florence, and not Rome. Rome has layers of history that are impenetrable and insurmountable – Florence, did not. I liken it to a teenager leaving home to go find them self somewhere, to experiment, test the boundaries of life and their own abilities and talents. Living in Rome is the equivalent to living in the basement of your parents house… No matter what potential you have, it will be stifled and muffled and predisposed to the way things are always done – at least under that roof…

I’ve been thinking more about that thought, now that I’m back in my kitchen, finding that my bread starters managed to live in my absence, finding that I too, survived without cooking a single meal for a month (something I thought might very well drive me to the brink of insanity….). I’m celebrating my mongrel nature. I’m doing this to reclaim things – to set life back in balance. Wandering through Paris – a city I never thought I’d ever tire of – I found myself on the last evening wanting something like a taco. I realized, and knew, that as vast and profound a city that Paris is – I was never going to find it. On any given corner, there are a variety of baked goods, lovely breads, chocolates, jams and jellies, fromageries, duck confit, steak tartare, veal kidneys and terrines – but nowhere did I see a single place that dare serve anything like a taco.

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It’s my usual batch of bread dough – I’ve made a Baguette with it as I usually do – to host the smoked pork shoulder and jalapeño aioli I made earlier in the week, but with leftovers, I turn some of the dough into these pretzels to go along with the Ribollito I made from some other stale bread and leftover Ratatouille…

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And then I make some laminated dough for croissants. Rolling out the same exact dough into a rectangle with a layer of butter worked in – folded three ways – rolled out and chilled. Then repeated 3 more times…

It may seem irrelevant, incoherent – but this is where life makes most sense to me. Seeing and playing party to a lump of the simplest dough – working it and treating it in different ways – makes all the difference in the world… I don’t think life is much different than bread in that sense – and I’m proud that my kitchen has few biases or expectations… Sometimes the things you dream of or believe you can become only come down to a matter of treating yourself a little bit differently…

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “…returning home…

  1. …..perhaps your first profound thought was in Rome but your “….returning home” remarks are equally profound. However, on my last evening in Paris, walking the back streets of the Latin Quarter alone, guess what I came across? I real Mexican Restaurant! I shared with the guy standing in the doorway how my friend was longing for a taco and he handed me a discount card for dinner. Mexican in Paris….few and far between! 🙂

    Posted by angie | November 11, 2012, 4:08 am

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