July 06, 2017
Working on Noemie’s Pantry every day means thinking about food A LOT. For this post, instead of a recipe or a restaurant review like my previous posts, I wanted to revisit some of my childhood food memories. These are short tidbits of my childhood in France, which I thought may be fun to share.
1. When I was in elementary school, my mom would come pick me up at the end of the school day. We would stop by the bakery a couple of times a month for the traditional French “gouter” or afternoon snack. Many times, I would get a large chocolate macaron, as it was (and still is) one of my favorite sweets. My mom would always ask if she could take a bite, and I would say yes, but she would take the biggest bite possible, leaving me with maybe 2/3 left if I was lucky… She claims this happened only once or twice, but my brother can confirm she did that with him as well ;)
2. When I was in middle school, I watched a lot of cooking shows on TV. This was a time when you couldn’t Google a recipe right after a show had aired. Some TV channels had websites, but almost none of them had dedicated sections for their TV shows, so if you weren’t taking notes while the show was airing or recording it, you were out of luck! One recipe looked particularly amazing… It was called “Coulants au Chocolat” or “Molten Cake”, but I didn’t have time to start the VHS recorder so my notes weren’t complete… I ended up writing a letter to the TV station (Teva if anyone remembers) and explained what I just described here, and they mailed me the recipe! I was so excited when it arrived! To this day, I still use this recipe.
3. Circa 2000, when molten lava cakes became the craze in France. My aunt would bake her traditional chocolate cake for less and less time every time she would make it, giving it a soft & molten consistency that was delicious. But one time, she took it too far... It wasn’t molten, it was simply uncooked and the whole family made fun of her for it! Poor auntie.
4. On Wednesdays, I only had class for a half-day when I was in middle school. You would leave at noon and could go home, play sports or spend the afternoon with your parents or grandparents. In 7th grade, I spent almost all my Wednesday afternoons at home, baking with a friend. I experimented with all kinds of chocolate cakes, mousse, brownies, cookies, etc. You name it, I probably baked it when I was 13. I think I did that weekly for 4-5 months! Thinking back, it was a fun hobby, but poor mom… sometimes I wouldn’t do the dishes before she got home… oops!
5. In 8th grade, in Arts class, we had to do a 5-minute presentation about something we enjoyed doing. It didn't have to be related to the Arts per se. I decided to talk about one of my favorite recipes, and of course brought some cake to share. The recipe I described is the “Gateau de Savoie” or Savoy Cake. I had typed and printed the recipe for all my classmates, and walked them through the simple steps to make this cake. To me, this presentation went well but it wasn’t memorable either. However, more than 10 years later, a few of my friends still bring up that presentation because they remember how good the cake was, and have even kept the printed recipe!
6. We didn’t always have limonade in the house. French limonade is quite different from American lemonade. French limonade is most similar to Sprite, a tiny bit less sugary. When we did have it though, I could have a “diabolo grenadine” after school in the summer. A diabolo is a virgin cocktail made with Teisseire Grenadine syrup and limonade. It is the simplest thing, yet also the most delicious. To this day, whenever I have a drink at a terrace café in Paris in the summer, there’s a good chance I’ll order a diabolo grenadine… I know mint syrup has a huge following as well, but I am definitely a Grenadine kind-of-person!
7. As a child, I remember looking at Laduree macaron pièce montée, and thinking one day I would be a pastry chef and make amazing looking desserts just like the ones in the windows… Flash-forward 10 years when I was in college taking a cooking class and realizing how tough it was to work on your feet for 8+ hours in a warm kitchen with no windows or sense of time. So I moved on to my next dream… Sharing delicious French snacks with people all over the world. We’ll start with the US & Canada for now :)
Apologies for the "vintage" lighting in this picture.
Let me know if you enjoyed this post! Do you have any similar memories about your childhood?
July 10, 2017
Thank you Jennifer for the really sweet message :)
July 07, 2017
You are right! It was a long time ago more than 15 years and i havent forgotten your presentation! It is amazing that after so much year this memory stays on our mind!!
Congrats for your blog and your company! I wish you all the best!
July 06, 2017
@Kate, thank you! I do love food :)
@Stephanie, this is a great question! I had to think for a second because I make it at home so often that I rarely order it outside. The chocolate lava cake at Max Brenner is delicious, but stay tuned, I will post my go-to recipe in a few weeks!
I love how you write. I feel like I was there with you in the different season of your post. You have some great memories of food, I can see how it is such a passion for you. Thank you for sharing this. :)
This is a wonderful post Noemie! Thank you for that trip down memory lane of delicious days living in France. I will always have a soft spot for molten lava cakes! Do you have anywhere that you recommend in NYC for these delicious cakes?