C’est La Vie: Rachel’s Bread Owner Recounts Time Spent in France

March 19, 2014 - posted in the Goshen Commons by Rachel Shenk
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We rest our weary feet and watch the Parisian world go by: folks standing at the bus stop, a couple grabbing a preprandial drink at the café across the street, the vendor of the men’s clothing store taking a cigarette break on the sidewalk, an older man walking his dog, a father pulling two children along. My passion, of course, is bread and baking and this is as good a place as any for me to continue my professional research.
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My partner, Jim, and I both believe that time away from our work makes us more focused on our return. For me, I find new ideas for bread, pastries and food preparation. Sometimes, just seeing what another baker is doing here helps me to see that I am on the right track.
 
One of the bakeries I visited in Paris this time around was in an out of the way place on a non descript street just off the the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a large park in the northeast of Paris with an incredible view on the city. I liked the fact that it wasn’t in the high rent district and it wasn’t modern or fancy. The woman baker who runs it is one of the few women bakers in France; baking has always been a man’s career here. She bakes sourdough breads in one of the four woodfired ovens left in Paris. We were told numerous times that wood fired ovens are no longer allowed here. But if you have one, like this old one, you can still use it.
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So here we are on the eve of our return to Goshen. Two and a half weeks have flown by. Our travels took us to Valencia and Girona, Spain and Le Brusc and Paris, France. In each of those places, we ate the bread and pastries. We walked the streets as those who live there do. We took part in the festivals and concerts out on the street and exchanged knowledge about our worlds. Wherever we humans live our lives, most of us live it oblivious to the richness that is ours. I always come back to this: I must live fully, observing the smallest details around me or I might miss out on that richness.
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http://www.goshencommons.org/2014/03/cest-la-vie-rachels-bread-owner-rec...

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