Wednesday, 2 April 2014

B is for Baguette

Ah the baguette, that quintessential symbol of all that is French. It is up there alongside the Eiffel Tower, the smelly cheese, garlic and snails. It is an icon.

A French friend told us that 'the Frenchman is wedded to his baguette'. How true.

As a comestible it is inconvenient. It breaks on the way home, creates more crumbs over the kitchen worktop than a very crumbly thing, is impossible to eat with any decorum and goes rock hard after a mere 24 hours.

And yet, everyone buys it. The bent old man returning home to his cat, the crewcut adolescent on his moto, the sprightly schoolteacher in her (ridiculously long) lunch break (see D is for Dejeuner), everyone is seen carrying their baguette. Naked or wrapped in a token hanky of paper, the baguette goes everywhere.

Home decor shops sell chintzy patchwork holders long enough to store your baguette in. On the market you can pick up linen bags designed to carry it home unscathed.

It fascinates me, this dedication to an unwieldy stick of bread. OK, it is the only choice when making garlic bread; it is second to none spread with a bit of Camembert, downed with a slug of vin rose on a riverbank in summer; and it is a serviceable weapon after a day in the open air. But otherwise, its limitations far outweigh its usefulness.

People will furnish you with recipes for bread pudding and panzanella. Horses and Donkeys, apparently, are grateful for a chomp on a day old baguette. Slices of stale baguette spread with tapenade are elegant additions to aperitifs. But really, of all the foodstuffs that proliferate in this wonderful pays gourmet, the baguette is a perverse one to be wedded to.


  1. You're making me hungry! There's nothing like the smell of freshly-baked bread! :)

  2. Ah for a baguette and the places it can go. Especially loved the imagery of the where and the who.

  3. The comfort food of the French, perhaps? Fun A-Z topic!!

    Laurel's Leaves