Thursday, October 27, 2011


For my two days off I barely left the house. I was just oh so tired and I think that now I know I'll be leaving my internship early the imminent freedom has made me feel as if I have an excuse to laze around. I'll have plenty of time to explore and enjoy myself then, right? Gluttony will completely possess the amount of sloth I've been suffering from, won't it?

Either way, I don't feel as though I have anything too exciting to share with you quite yet but I felt horribly guilty just posting another list. (You may have noticed by now that I love them. My sister, Kathryn seems to share the same infatuation with planning out and writing down all the things we want to do much more than actually doing them. It's obviously a genetic impulse that's hard to fight.)

But today after work I did venture out past my metro stop and explored a little bit of the street my shop is on and past that. Aside from checking things out, I actually was hoping to find a birthday present for my ex-boyfriend, no longer ex-boyfriend, it's complicated thing, back home. Like a typical girl, however, I returned home with three pairs of new shoes and not even a key-chain for "the boy." The truth is I actually need some shoes because I was not planning on staying here so long and failed to pack any of my winter clothes. And when it comes to rain, cold, or snow, one thing you really need are good shoes. For everything else you can just load up on every single piece of clothing you have, shove some newspapers in there for insulation and boom-shaka-laka instant parka! But like a classic girl I had to get one super cute, just couldn't resist, uncomfortable, unreasonable, unsensible, unnecessary pair of shoes. And let me tell you, they are FAB-YOU-LUUUUUS!

Once I had scoured store after store after store of foot fetish material, I finally emerged onto Rue Montmartre. It's a wonderful street and down by the Church of Saint-Eustache there's a lovely market. I was greeted by rows of rotisserie chickens that smelled luscious and I was tempted to by one but I knew I was already going to look like a fool with three boxes on the metro, what would they think of me if I brought a whole roasted chicken?

I think the market is there pretty much everyday. It's a mix of fresh produce, premade food (like desserts, roast chicken, dumplings, etc), flowers, and clothes. The whole area around there seems very much alive and like it has an interesting story to tell, but alas the sun was setting and I knew it was time to go home. I'd have to come back and check it out once I was free of the slavery of citrus.

The fact of the matter is that work has not been too terrible lately. I think I'm just getting used to it. But I also know that I am moving up in the world because while I may still get shafted with all the citrus and acid fruit tasks, I also know they know I'm better than Hirimo. I feel sorry for him but sometimes I wish I could speak Japanese so that I could ask him, "Dude, what are you doing?"

A perfect example was the other day when we were given the list of tasks each of us got to complete throughout the day. I was given the job of zesting a few lemons and then tackling six pineapples. After I'd massacred the lemons, I grabbed some rubber gloves, the cutting board, my gigantic knife and started at those "ananas" like a pro. Hirimo, meanwhile, was given the task of making two creme d'amandes.  When I had surfaced from my arduos acidic task of brunoise-ing six massive spiky beasts, I discovered that Hirimo was still knees deep into his first creme d'amande. It had been over two hours! This, I told myself was, "Très ridicule!"

For those of you who don't know, creme d'amande is a basic batter made for french pastries. It is often the base of many tarts such as fruit tarts, chocolate tarts, nut tarts, you get the picture. It is, also, perhaps one of the easiest things a person can make. All you do is throw some ingredients together, mix em up, and there you have it! Why, on earth, it took Hirimo so long I don't really know, but watching him crack eggs gave me an idea. I think he may be a pot-head. I just don't see any other explanation for why a person would take that long to crack a single egg.

Since Hirimo had failed to get through both creme d'amandes in even a freckle of a reasonable amount of time, I was then asked to scale out the ingredients for the second creme d'amande for Julien (the new guy) to make. Since the first ingredient is beurre pommade, I measured out the butter, put it in the mixer and started pommade-ing it. Alberique saw this and said, "Who's butter is this?"

 "Mine," I responded sheepishly.

"Do you know how to make this?" Alberique asked again.

"Yes..." I said slowly. Because the truth was my cat could make creme d'amande. Sure I'd never made this specific one before but I'm sure I could figure it out. And then a miracle happened. Alberique allowed me to make the creme d'amande. He set a timer for ten minutes and told me that was how long I had to finish it. I may or not have stopped the timer for a minute or so but still I kicked Hirimo's butt! And then it was back to peeling clementines.

While it may have been something, it wasn't enough to make me change my mind about leaving. It's a sad day when you want to cartwheel over creme d'amande. And as I've said numerous times (pretty much every post) the feeling of being their is worse than getting a bikini wax.

Then, this morning, as I was topping raspberry tarts, I noticed something creeping out of the corner of my eye. And there it was. A french cockroach. At least I think it was a cockroach. Either way I crushed its skull under a tupperware box and wiped it up before I could closely examine it. It was the same color and had a similar form but it was extremely small. Still it wouldn't surprise me if cockroaches were a bit sissy here in Paris. The thing is that any food establishment is vulnerable to creepy crawly pests. We clean the shop pretty well every single day. And I wasn't as grossed out by it as I thought I might be. But as I was crushing that brown exoskeleton with a handy plastic container, I realized that this is my internship.

Here I am surrounded by my passion, a beautiful, delicious, well respected patisserie in Paris, and yet there's still a nasty shuffling cockroach creeping around my tart. You can't ignore it because if you do it'll eventually dive right into the pistachio filling and then what do you have? Trash. The only thing you can do is crush it like the bug that it is and hope it's guts don't squirt on your dreams.

So today as I was bobbing along on the train home, I tried to perk up for tomorrow's work, telling myself that pretty soon I'd be done with the cockroaches. The rest of my time here is going to be spent where the cockroaches don't dare come out, it's too bright, and too happy for them. And then, as I was moving one of my bags with a new pair of shoes in it to make room on the train, a man stepped onto the metro. He was middle aged  frowning, but in his earbuds I could hear something I recognized. Katy Perry's "California Girls" was blaring from his Ipod. And I smiled. I'm a California girl, ya know. And it's not just sand in our stilettos that we hate, its cockroaches in our raspberry tarts.

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