Cooking in Paris: French Toast with Nicoise Lemon and Vanilla Syrup

2207: After nearly five days in Paris, I hold fast to my theory that food tastes better here.

It is not a cockamamie theory. The explanation is simple. The French value good food. Good food needs the best ingredients. And that is what you find here. (At a far better price than in Wisconsin, I might add.)

We took the little cart to Rue Cler on Saturday and made the rounds. Salami from Davoli La Maison Du Jambon. Pork sausage from Boucherie Roger. Pont d’Eveque cheese from La Fermette. Fresh produce from Les Quartres Saison and necessities from Leader Price and FranPrix.

Even the cheapest items were a good value. My husband found a serviceable bottle of Bordeaux for fewer than two euros. We bought a pricier bottle of white Bordeaux from Magda Traiteur on Rue de Monttessuy last night.

To date, in my American kitchen in France (our flat is owned by an American), I have made salami sandwiches, salads, grilled cheese-and-sausage sandwiches, sausage and peppers and sausage and fettuccini — simple fare, to be sure. It all tasted better here.

Maybe you need to be very relaxed to make good food. I think that’s part of the equation. But the other part is that the ingredients are the best I can afford.

I feel better cooking here, even though the kitchen is smaller (and not very conducive to good food photos).

But I am not telling you anything you don’t already know if you have cooked in Paris.

And if you haven’t, you must. You really must. It is much more economical and certainly healthier on both figure and wallet than eating out all the time.

French Toast with Nicoise Lemon and Vanilla Syrup
  • 8 thick slices day-old baguette
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter
  • ¼ cup vanilla syrup
Whip together eggs, cream, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Soak baguette slices for about 2 minutes. Lightly toast in skillet until golden brown. Serve with syrup; top with more lemon zest and powdered sugar, if you have some (I did not).

The second photo is taken from Rue de General Camou, in front of the American Library in Paris.

As Elouise put it, “I absolutely adore Paris!”


Lydia said…
Oui oui, being relaxed and having access to the best ingredients makes for fabulous cooking! So glad you are enjoying this long-awaited visit to Paris.
breadchick said…
The French Toast (he-he) looks spectacular. I love shopping for food in Paris and admit to buying things I would never buy when home in the US just because I can. There is now reason, we shouldn't be able to have the same access to good food at affordable prices here, well except for big agribusiness that is and their powerful lobby. But I digress. Enjoy the rest of your stay! I can't wait to see what you cook up next. OH, and one photo request, even though it is small, do post a picture of your American Kitchen in France!
katiez said…
Mimi, we have reversed roles for a few minutes in time - me cooking and complaining about the high prices in the U.S. and you.....
So glad you are having a wonderful time - have you visited Place Madelaine yet for the Maille shop....and Fouchon....and Hediard... Hang on, I can catch a train and be there in 2 hours....
Just cheese on a day-old baguette is better in Paris. Maybe that's because the baguette was better to begin with...oh that's what you're saying ... start with the best ingredients...
I second Breadchick do post a picture of your American Kitchen in France!
Jann said…
"Everything" is better in Paris~ France....that's why we go so much! Have many more wonderful cooking experiences!I would love to be there cooking with you....maybe you can join me sometime!
Christine said…
After traveling around the southwest of France for 4 weeks, my husband, son and I were so grateful for an apartment in Paris for 11 days, with a beautiful kitchen that I cooked the whole time we were there.
I'm so happy for you Mimi.
Yes! Please take photos of your French kitchen.
Fiona said…
Its great keeping up with you this way Mimi.

I hope you are also enjoying the sights and sounds Paris has to offer.

I look forward to your next dispatch :)
ChrisB said…
Sounds like you are having a wonderful time.
Terri said…
I SO agree with you. As you know, I'm not that fond of cooking here. But, get me into a Paris apt. and I "feel" like Julia Childs. You're's the ingredients, the atmosphere, all of it. Paris has a way of doing that...touching all of our senses.
I'm really enjoying your entries here. So YOU keep enjoying Paris!
Anxious to try your French Toast...IN Paris, that is.
Terry B said…
It is such a treat to be enjoying Paris vicariously through you, Mimi. Your absolute joy comes shining through. And regarding your husband's serviceable bottle of wine for under two euros, you really have to work hard to find bad wine, at any price, in Paris.
Mimi said…
Lydia, the green and red peppers here are fabulous.

BC, Tanna, I will post a photo in the next day or two.

Katie, good thing we brought an extra bag to check...

Jann, I would love to take cooking lessons here - I think I could navigate the city on my own very well.

Christine, four weeks in the Southwest? I did not know it was that long.

Fi, everytime I see a cat, I think of you. Of course, I see more dogs...

ChrisB, we are! Wish there was more time, I'd pop over to the UK.

Terri, when we pass through JC's old "Roo de Loo" area, I bow in reverence.

I agree, TerryB, the wine was quite good, if not complex. He bought a rose which we open tonight.
Julie said…
Now that's French Toast, it looks wonderful. Certainly looks better than the "Wonder Bread" french toast they serve here.
I absolutely agree with you on the ingredients and the price. It makes ALL the difference. And is also the reason, I think, that the French can eat more healthily so much more easily. If you have delicious tomatoes, for example, it takes only a few minutes to turn them into a delicious meal that everyone wants to eat.

We are just back. Exhausting but fun. Lots of research completed in a very short amount of time. It will be fun reading your stories and sharing ours! I'm glad you had a good trip!

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