French PastriesI’ve gone to Wegmans twice since I’ve been back from France, looking for pastries and bread.

After watching many Parisians walking through their city munching on just a loaf of bread, I wondered what the deal was. So on my final day in Paris, on my way to the airport, I stopped in a shop and fumbled through the French that would get me some kind of baguette. Boy, was that tasty.

I carried half the large loaf all the way back to the States with me. Berta tried some, Abby tried some, and even Riley tried some. I think it was probably a little stale by the time they got to it, but it was still pretty tasty. And so I thought I would go to the only place that I know to create pastries anything like what I had seen in France to pick up something in the morning.

But unfortunately, America has no bread.

On Saturday morning of my trip, Brian took me to a small shop to get breakfast. Before we walked to the Louvre, we settled on a couple of these pastries and a can of orange juice. These pastries were very simple - Croissant-like bread with chocolate in the bottom. Actual, thick bits of chocolate. It was so very fresh and tasty, and not cakey or danishy.

Wegmans doesn’t sell breakfast. There are donuts. Donuts, I’ve decided, are not breakfast. Donuts are small cakes that go with coffee, usually eaten just after lunch or on Sunday after sleeping in at the in-laws.

Their “French” bread doesn’t taste like bread in France at all. It’s like… Why do you put those chemicals in it as a preservative if you’re not going to keep the bread around for more than a day? And then, why would you want to keep fresh-baked bread (which you make every morning) around every day?

I keep thinking that maybe it’s really the environment that is affecting my impression of the bread. Perhaps that’s so. I remarked to Berta that if I could describe why French food is generally so good then it would make her sad that she wasn’t having any.

I remember standing at the airport in Philly waiting for Berta to pick me up and looking at everyone on the platform thinking, “I’ve got bread that was baked fresh this morning - in Paris.” And I smiled like an idiot.