I have two very clear memories of my time in Paris more than a decade ago. They both involve baguettes.
The first happened on the Metro. Across from where I was standing, a man held a baguette, secure in its paper sleeve. The long loaf of bread, with one end resting securely against his thigh, pointed straight up in the air.
It’s not so much the baguette that stuck with me. It’s the impression I got of the man. He clenched the paper sleeve tightly, like he was protective of his bread.
The second happened one morning at our hostel. For breakfast, the hostel served smaller baguettes with butter and jam. A woman near me sliced open her baguette and topped one corner with a pat of butter. She went back to her butter dish, cut a second pat of butter, and laid it next to the first. Then she laid a third pat next to the second.
She never once spread the butter. Instead, she continued down the line, plopping pats of butter down until the entire length of her baguette was covered.
These two experiences over my four days in Paris left me with the impression that the French are serious about their bread. So much so that making it must be a time-consuming process.
Yet this weeks’ French Fridays with Dorie recipe for Savory Cheese and Chive Bread couldn’t have been easier. (I substituted scallions for the chives.)