That huge steaming platter of green beans turned out to be but the first course of a five course meal. And of course there was bread. Months later, back in the States, I found that the food I learned to love in France had not come home with me. That’s when I started teaching myself to cook.
I had arrived in Paris from the boat with my classmates earlier in the day, been grabbed by an older woman with flaming red hair, and stuffed in a cab for a long ride with her talking non-stop in a language that I did not recognize. Maybe French? Honestly, I had no idea of where I was or who these people at the table were.
I like a great French-style loaf of bread. I like it often and I like it simple. I was flying home from a Paris business trip when I came across the now-legendary no-knead bread technique and recipe in the November 8, 2008 European edition of the New York Times. I made my first batch a couple of days later. When I took that boule out of the Creuset dutch oven it was like finding Nirvana.
Let’s talk about food. Cooking great food requires that you know where you want to go. Go where? With the taste, the smell, the look of the food that’s on the plate, the feel of the food. I was 21 when I returned to the Midwest after a year of eating in Paris at the right hand of a woman who lived to cook.