Saturday, December 27, 2008


A good croissant is nearly impossible to find in America, whereas the average croissant served in any corner café in Paris is very good and often excellent. An acquaintance, upon hearing me voice this complaint, steered me to a local pastry shop with the promise "as good as Paris." I was expecting to be disappointed, and I really wish I'd been wrong, but - they weren't very good. And it was easy to see why - a couple of warm-handed workers were passing the dough through mechanical rollers, in a room that was the same temperature as the rest of the establishment - a recipe for disaster. That, combined with not letting the dough rest and chill after every other working, meant that the final product looked a bit like a croissant on the outside, but was merely a fancy piece of brioche.

The problem isn't that we can't get good butter or flour, or the use of mechanical rolling machines. The problem is that there isn't much of a penalty for supplying substandard wares to a less-than-discerning public.

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