I love bread. My mother said when I was younger: I never met a carbohydrate I didn’t like. That is truer here in Paris than any other time in my life with the exception of when my mom would bake her delicious homemade bread that I would eat warm out of oven. With boulangeries at almost every corner, the smell radiating to the street is hard to resist.
In Seattle, Maxime would bring home the baguette and usually the top part of the loaf would be missing. I asked “What happened?” and he’d reply “A little mouse got to it.” I thought his nibbling habit was unique to him but when I moved to Paris I saw that was not the case. At first I only saw a few here and there but then when I started to look, I was amazed at how normal it was. Young, old, male, female, construction workers, business men/women all seem to be starting their baguette within yards of exiting. I too am guilty of this and am most tempted out of my favorite boulangerie when my “baguette tradition” is warm and I can feel it on my skin through the bag. I know how much better it would be with delicious thick French butter smouthered on, but I can’t resist. I start with just a little bit, then if the tear is at an angle I tell myself “well, just get the loaf end even again.” It is a cat and mouse game between my brain and the baguette. There are rare occasions when the bread makes it all the way home pristine and in the end, I am always glad to have my first bite with delicious French butter.
But in actuality, I have a guilty pleasure with the social acceptance of a little snack on something while walking home. I am reminded of the times when I eat right out of the ice cream carton. The freedom to just eat and enjoy at a whim. The French love enjoying life and if that means eating the warm baguette before you get home, then that is what they will do and I will gladly share in that ritual.