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Carol insisted I put the phrase “making homemade bread” in the first sentence of this blog, if I intended to keep the title as it is.. For New Orleanians, making bread is more of a quest than a kitchen hobby. The famous “french bread” of the New Orleans po-boy sandwich is as critical to Crescent City cuisine as Slap Yo Mamma crawfish boil. I
Our big streetcar trip up St. Charles Ave. was aborted midway through, due to a 7-alarm fire that consumed a historic home in the Garden District. No one was injured, and anyway that wasn’t the biggest crisis that afflicted Carol and I at the start of our New Orleans adventure. At a French Quarter eatery just after our arrival in the city, I was served what was the first in what would become a Homeric odyssey of po boys over the next three days. But the “French bread” – within which my shrimp lay defenseless for my impending masticating assault – was soft! And spongy! With the interior texture of marshmallow! And not French bread at all! It was a lese majeste of gargantuan proportions.
About the only thing that can get me out of bed at seven in the morning occurs in France. It’s the time when the bakeries open, and fresh, just-out-of-the-oven baguettes are available. So fresh and hot are they that there will be a burn mark across the fleshy part of your arm from carrying it back home. Iove that burn mark; it’s badge of honor, a mark of good taste. A baguette tattoo.