Friday, April 4, 2008

The Pursuit of Pastry

I find it rather disappointing to walk into the Bakery section of my favorite grocery store, expecting to find a good slice of pastry when I am craving for an upscale cake, but on the contrary; am constantly greeted by "foam- filled, whip cream topped, biscuit -less pastries" with a presentation of 'good show' , but no dairy quality.
Are my expectations too high? Or am I making a good point?

Is it too cynical of me to criticize my surroundings and crave those memories of heavenly deliciousness when making a trip to the bakery in the midst of Dutch living? Finding excuses to return my so called overdue books at the library (bibliotheek), were only made possible by the lurking smell of yummy strawberry filled croissants at a bakery around the corner...
One couldn't possibly resist. Now, you must be declaring me a total food fanatic or an obsessed out of control freak emphasizing on the very small details of pastry perfection. Although, I know for a fact that all my fellow European immigrants will second me on this and probably share the same pain and desperation for fresh, pure organic dairy baked in all its glory for the purpose of seducing mankind to its impeccable design.

The experience of my knife touching the crispy crust of biscuity cake and breaking through a wall of thin sliced almonds...hmmm...stumbling upon a triple layered department of chocolate, vanilla and a gooey pudding-like mixture, laid on a fresh baked carpet of biscuit-crust topped with whip cream, is surely exciting for a one year old celebrating his/her birthday to an eighty year old treating him/herself a good piece of surmounted sweetness.

The movie "Waitress", starring Keri Russel whose keen on having a very sweet love relationship with the pies she makes in the shop, shows a certain passion that I am trying to convey and perhaps serves as a backbone to my pointless ramblings on pastries. You see, a preparation of some sort, whether it be a pie or a pastry, requires attentive care in the 'intensive care' of patching up ingredients to make it eventually survive the robust world of competition and ignorance. Such ignorance towards the beauty of art, food and simple childhood to grown- up satisfactions.

In the city of Purmerend, Holland a bakery used to exist, filled with customers lining up to get fresh bread in the mornings, croissants for their elaborate breakfasts and pastries for their appetite in the late afternoons. An environment of people bicycling with baskets of groceries on their bikes, running their errands while snacking on heavenly goods. A city that was a suburb with its cows in the farms and the development of new housing, I could've never imagined that my thoughts of today would take me back to those memories that I considered a daily normalcy. A life style that wasn't taken for granted, but that was lived and known as the only 'life' I had...until the same life was twisted upside down to welcome a new life style, a new place and new pastries.

Pastries that I still haven't developed the taste for yet. The "Dutch" in me hasn't accepted anything less than the quality I grew up with. It has replaced my indulgence temporarily for an all American cheesecake, but it surely hasn't hit home yet....and it may never be.

I will not surrender as of yet, but I will be searching...for that, that makes it all worth to even travel overseas to lure me into the luscious bites of what I call,

...a Perfect Pastry... ;)

No comments: