About a year ago, Matt's mother gave me a wonderful gift of hand-me-down cookbooks, including Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1, and From Julia Child's Kitchen. Something about having these well-loved copies around has inspired me to give them a little more use. Pencil notations show up at odd moments, and the whole affair just feels more friendly. And yes, I watch French Chef DVDs while I do it. This weekend, under the pretense of 'recipe testing for the bakery,' I made Julia's croissants, and while I was at it threw in a repeat of her French Bread recipe (had to have something to make the TWD bread pudding).
The croissants were hands down the best I've ever made. All other recipes, however much they might have refined my technique and added to the success of this one, are now off the table. These are the croissants. No fooling. Hopefully I'll be introducing them at the bakery soon, and giving some competition to the Balthazar version being sold down the street.
Getting myself into Julia mindset makes me feel strong, domineering, capable, quirky, and joyful. Makes me feel like I could find more and more to my life's calling the older I get. That I can make friends all over this world. That there is honor in pastry and truth at the table. That I'm much better at making bread than the last time I attempted Julia's French Bread recipe, and it makes a difference.
Thanks again, Julia, for everything. It was a great weekend with you, and I hope we'll have many more wonderful years. Thanks, Gwyn, for the cookbooks, and Matt for the photos, and Miriam, for eating the last croissant and saving us from ourselves.