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It’s sort of surprising to me as an American with tourist tendencies that the most famous bread in France is not actually a baguette, but an incredible whole wheat kind of sourdough. From Poîlane. When Dad was here, we went to Poîlane and at at the Cuisine de Bar next door, which basically consisted of toasted sliced of delicious bread topped with cheese, vegetables, butter and ham (not all at once, thankfully!).

Yesterday I decided to go back to Poîlane for another quart de boule (quarter loaf)–plus they always have a little basket of their amazing sable cookies for dégustation (tasting). Yum. I actually accidentally ate a whole piece of my bread while window-shopping (oops, but I was just so hungry!). And then last night, I had the wild idea to try to re-create one of the tartines that we had had at the restaurant–fromage blanc (no translation that I can find…the consistency is somewhere between cottage cheese and cream cheese, neither of which I like!) with tomatoes and cucumbers. So on my way to class last night, I stopped and picked up my ingredients, and today for lunch I experimented.

I started with Poîlane.

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Then I gathered up my tomato, cucumber and enormous tub of fromage blanc–what am I going to do with the rest of it? (I’m thinking smoked salmon…)

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I massacred the vegetables a bit. Not my fault–that turned out to be kind of a squishy tomato, though still tasty.

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Once the veggies waved their white flag of surrender, I toasted my bread.

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Then I assembled!

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It was pretty delicious, I have to say, though I think at the Cuisine de Bar they use quite a bit more cheese than I did.

After I finished my lunch, my thoughts kept straying back to the rest of the bread, slowly and sadly going stale…so I had another piece, with fromage blanc and a drizzle of honey.

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This entry feels a little bit like one of those paragraphs we learned how to write in third grade, where we had to outline a procedure–how to make French toast, how to draw a cartoon dog, how to play baseball. “First…” “Next…” “Then…” “Finally…”

Or in French, if you like: “D’abord…” “En suite…” “Puis…” “Finalement…”

Bisous,
Anne

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