As a child,I loved the film Peau d'âne,the "suprise deserts" my father made,and the nice "goûters"I was given after my afternoons in the park. As some may remember, Catherine Deneuve, the princess in the film, sings the following song,as she makes the "love cake" (which will win the prince's heart). It goes something like this :
Prenez de la
Prenez de la farine
Versez dans la
Versez dans la terrine
Quatre mains bien pesées
Autour d'un puits
Autour d'un puits creusez
Choisisssez quatre oeufs frais
Qu'ils soient du mat'
Qu'ils soient du matin frais
I loved it.
As for the "surprise deserts" which were a family tradition, they were for children only. After the meal, the nice children (it seems I always managed to be nice enough), were allowed to leave the table and then were called back to discover in their plates a wonderful work of art,which my father had artistically created "impromptu" in the kitchen for us. This work of art respresented a boat , a bunch of flowers, a lovely face, or an abstract painting (this being the least appreciated)etc. It was composed of delicious stuff; if it was a "portrait", the face would be "fromage blanc"; the eyes would be raisins or small fruit, the lips were a tangarine section or strawberry jam, the hair honey (if it was blond, of course) etc. How we loved to nibble an ear first, the nose second etc. until nothing was left of the face !
Now, about the days in the park and the wonderful walks in Paris. I don't know whether I liked the walks or the "goûters"(the word "snack" is not nice enough) that followed them best. But as we walked (my parents and I), we discovered bakeries (there always was a new one), we looked in the windows and, once in a while, I got to choose a cake (I would choose only among the "viennoiseries"since it was for a 4 o'clock "goûter"- and I would choose a type of sablé which was fashionable then, but which I rarely see today, and which had a round little hole on top that let you see the nice red jam underneath. I don't think it was very good, I just found it very lovely).
Then, I think there might be a fourth reason why I became an apprentice in pastry making : when I was a student in Paris, my university was situated in the middle of a sort of "sugar triangle" : rue Bonaparte (where Hermé is), rue Vaugirard (where Sadaharu Aoki is), rue d'Assas (where Christian Constant is). Too many pastry shops, too many pastries and too little time to try them all!
After my "bi-licence" in German and English,(I really enjoyed studying as much as I enjoyed sampling the "zen", the "plaisir sucré", the "tarte au caramel au beurre salé", the "deux mille feuilles"), I decided to study pastry making.
But I will leave my adventures as an apprentice pastry-maker for the next message.