Are We In The South?

This morning, a man was supposed to come to the apartment to repair our washing machine. The window is cracked and needs to be replaced–a totally cosmetic repair, though. They have rescheduled twice already but today they were coming, so I got myself up a bit earlier to give everything a thorough cleaning to avoid all possible embarrassments. I even cleaned out the inside of the microwave that I have used exactly twice. I enjoyed it, muttering, “Scrub! Scrub hard!” to my imaginary children. When everything was nice, I noticed I had an email–rescheduled again. Geeeez.

Now that we were no longer on a schedule, Jessica and I got ourselves ready at our leisure. Today we were going to investigate a bakery called the Sugarplum Cake Factory which is quite close to us. About a fifteen minute walk. The name thoroughly excited Jessica, as did the word cake. The shop is an American bakery in the middle of Paris and she was sold on the idea immediately. I was wary, but enthused, so off we went.

As we crossed the bridge to the other side of the city, I noticed this and fell in love.

It is a museum of tableware. Yes. You read it right. No, I have not yet stolen everything there. I cannot wait to go sometime! Jessica was in no mood to stop, so onward we went.

It was a pretty street, seemed much quieter than our area. Even the graffiti was friendlier. There is nothing menacing about a giraffe.

Unless…

Adorable! And then I saw this:

I’ve told you and shown you houses that I have considered my dream home before. The one in London was the closest to the vision I have, but this is truly the building I have daydreamed about in my head for years. Every detail is perfection, except for the windows–I would have picked a different window. Also, my version would have a greenhouse reaching out on either side. Other than that, it was perfect. I’m so jealous of whatever this is going to be.

When we approached the address to the bakery, the area looked very quiet and we wondered if it had been shut down or was imaginary. I can’t remember where I first heard about it. But, there it was on the corner.

We walked in and Jessica was instantly charmed. I don’t get quite so excited about cake–I’m not a huge cake fan, but Jessica is. Then she saw carrot cake. She exploded. She dashed towards the counter with a boldness I have never experienced.

The woman behind the counter spoke English to us because she was American and she spoke with a slightly Southern-affected accent. Yes, ma’am! I love the South even if I find their politics a bit uncomfortable. I will most likely live there if I can manage a house, condo, or apartment, or shack even, in Sarasota. There is no happiness quite like living along the ocean. Anyway, Jessica had herself carrot cake and I ordered a slice of the vanilla-raspberry cake. We both ordered lemonade.

Now, let me take a break and tell you about this. Lemonade in Paris is extraordinary. For some reason, the French do not make it. I don’t know if they haven’t been properly introduced to it or if they simply don’t like it, but when I am here I have all sorts of cravings for a sweet and sour cup of it, so I was thrilled and delighted to pay whatever they wanted to charge me. For the drink and slice of cake it was seven euros, hardly cheap, but this was an interesting experience.

Jessica and I watched the counter for awhile as she forced the French people to speak English to her–they bent to her will in a way that I have never seen. It was amazing, she didn’t even try to speak French.

Then, a few moments later, our cake was brought out by another waitress who said (with a smile!) “Here ‘ya go, cuties.” I died. It was too charming. There is something about Americans in Paris, or anybody in a foreign place, that makes us crave a little bit of home. Even if you’re gone for only a few days, anything vaguely American seems like a good idea. That is why I always recommend people traveling to Europe to go to England in the middle of their trip. There is very little culture shock and it is a good way to recharge after being harassed in Italian and German for a week or two. If you go to a place where you can easily operate, you’ll be more eager to head to someplace exotic. At least, that’s my opinion.

This was cake. It wasn’t le cake like French bakers make–dry, small, doused in sugar syrup, this was honest-to-goodness American gluttony. Delightful and pretty delicious, too. I have never had raspberry cake where the raspberries were baked right into the cake. It didn’t make for the prettiest crumb, but the flavor was remarkable. Jessica wolfed hers down in a few seconds and then moaned a bit and looked around as if she were confused about where she was.

Look! Lemonade in a pitcher and served in jam jars! I know! It was so good. Just like being back home. It was like being in the Old South, a place I have always wanted to experience–without the obvious things I would find despicable. I have always been charmed by that era. It was an entirely different world of gentility and charm, of manners and tradition. The North lacked that and still does in a way. When you are traveling the South, even today, there is a certain old world charm that remains that can never really leave. Though the Civil War was a necessary evil, it totally decimated the culture that never really could flounder again. I think the only place where it exists evidently anymore is vaguely in New Orleans, but maybe I just daydreamed that.

Anyway we both rather enjoyed ourselves and Jessica left them this poorly written note:

That would be a fun place to work, I think, it wasn’t about presentation so much as flavor and about offering up something new. I would enjoy that, tweaking traditional flavors and the like.

As we walked towards the river, we were discussing food snobs. I thought that the people there might have a bit of a superiority complex–something I always sense in bakeries operated by young’uns. But, they had a right to be cake bitches, they were successful. Jessica said it was the same for me, I have a right to be a macaron bitch because I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m talking about, and I make the best damned macaron on either side of the Mississippi. She had a very strong point.

I have decided that I am going to submit a video to Tyra for her to consider me as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model. This will not be an easy battle, seeing as the show is for females only, but I will try and try again until I am given a spinoff or the rules are changed. So we shot some videos along the river–pretty good I think. I have a huge vision of what this video is going to be and I can’t wait to share it with you. I only hope my computer can help me create what I see in my head.

Jessica soon grew tired of filming me and decided to kill herself.

That’s going to be hard to explain when I get back home.

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