Two little Boston Terrier girls bring their Momo & Mr.Momo to Paris for a long stay. These are the tales of their very fine adventures.
Pretending That Déjeuner in America Can be French and Joyeux Anniversaire Miss L
So far the Momo family has been underwhelmed with being able to duplicate the food of France in our home in America. L&P are certainly disappointed in us. They were totally expecting the sidewalk buffet to continue, but unfortunately there are slim pickings in suburbia even if is masquerades as a metropolitan megalopolis call the Peninsula and Silly Valley (or as some call it, Silicon Valley). Yes, techies eat lots of junk food and drop it all over the place, however, no one walks outside anywhere here so the only sidewalk buffets would be found in the halls of Silly Valley companies, or their autos. Sorry, L&P!
So not only are they missing the daily fun with the sidewalk buffet, open 24 hours, but with their daily dose of fromage blanc and jambon. We have been jambon free since coming home and even Momo misses it. There isn't even anything to say about the baguettes and pastries including our very favorite croissants. We have tried everywhere to duplicate those, but it just is not going to happen. First, the flour itself, must be differently milled because even with the same ingredients the baguettes and baked goods taste nothing the same. In another post I already mentioned the football sized, heavy croissants that have everything except peanut butter in them. And the n there are those giant pastries with gizmo layers that could have been made by a five year old. French pastries are so delicately assembled that you imagine the pastry maker up all night putting together one concoction, whereas here, they could assembly line produce most pastries - with kindergarten children and the pastries would never fall apart. And one would feed an entire family of 10.
So we have gotten inventive. Searching for fromage blanc for example. Whole Foods stocks a couple of varieties and we should give them a big A for effort. However, the result is that they may as well just not bother. It isn't really French fromage blanc. It is their version of what an American might think of French Fromage blanc if the American were visiting France, and then imagined fromage blanc and then what might taste right to an American. If you reread that sentence, then you know what I mean. Totally idiotic.
One taste from American Fromage Blanc makers on both coasts, tell us that they didn't spend much time tasting the stuff in France. Their result is more like a ricotta or cream cheese. And that is so not French Fromage blanc in any form. Fromage blanc is smooth, custardy, has whey hanging around in the container when it is first opened, and is tangy but not tart. It is very similar to yogurt, yet not. The same only different.
So, Mr. Momo had the bright idea that we should make our own. Momo thought that meant getting a cow and when she mentioned it, L&P got delightfully excited. Another black and white pet. Yay for us. Well fortunately it only required us to order fromage starter from a cheese company, New England Cheese Company, who also had kindly included the directions for making the cheese along with a little side note from a gentleman who spent enough time in France to know that their recipe was going to be too dry so he included his own instruction. Voila! So off we went to purchase our organic gallon of whole milk and with our tiny package of starter we began the process of cheese making at the Momo family cheese factory.
Did you know that a whole gallon of milk makes a such a tiny amount of fromage blanc? We were worried that we would be stuck with mountains of the stuff. Fear not. The milk apparently leaves the room, the house even, and leaves us with a tiny jiggly slush that drains for just a bit and then you have fromage blanc. It is decidedly similar to our French tastings so we were very happy. There are some slight variations we are going to have to implement to help it be more similar, but we know how to do that. I know two piggies who are very pleased with their Momo's efforts. L&P love the fromage blanc. You can see the light in their eyes, the smile upon their little muzzles, perhaps dreaming of France when they have a bit of fromage blanc. Happy happy L&P. Happy happy Momo and Mr. Momo.
Let us talk a bit about jambon. In America, jambon is boring, salty, usually tasteless and decidedly not very creative. Until we visited France, the Momo family was not at all familiar with the 845 ways one little piggie could be prepared. But since we now know this we have been on the lookout for it. And guess what? We can only find 67 ways a piggie is prepared here. Up until the other day when Mr. Momo sent Momo an email with reference to a Piggie book called Pork & Sons by Stephan Reynard from rural France. Of course we have sent for this book tout de suite. And then this morning, Momo came across another reference called Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery by Jane Grigson. Another must for the jambon lover. Honestly, these books came our way without us looking for them, so someone is paying close attention to nudging our brains in the right direction. Now we will have good references for not only finding great jambon, but how to prepare good charcuterie should we wish! Absolutely, L&P will be delirious. Since it is L's birthday tomorrow, Momo will wrap up the book for her, in her honor so to speak.
Next we shall move onto the effort and education required to duplicate the art of French dinner eating. We thought we had it down pretty cold. But apparently since being back, we have slacked. We are now eating at the unheard of hour of 6PM or 7PM. We regularly skip the cheese course, and sometimes we forget the wine. This is unforgivable. We need a refresher course in good French eating. We must return to France to practice once again!
L&P are grateful for our supply of Fromage Blanc and hope that Momo will start learning more than 67 ways to prepare Jambon really soon now. Momo and Mr. Momo are too happy eating Fromage Blanc to worry about Jambon just yet.