When the temperatures turn cooler, I crave sweets. That makes September a dangerous month for me.
It has less to do with food, than it has to do with habit and fantasy. Some of my best childhood memories revolve around after-school snacks. I'd come home from school to find my mother outdoors, raking leaves or preparing her flower beds for cold weather and I'd drop my books and enjoy the brief moments of weekday freedom, by playing in the leaf piles or just hanging out. I'd work up an appetite.
"Let's go inside for cookies," my mother would say, and then we would linger in the sunny kitchen while I gave her the day's news, a glass of milk in hand.
In college, meeting friends for a late-afternoon coffee and pastry was a fall ritual. We gossiped, we commiserated, we dreamed over steaming cups and something sticky. I did not need a companion to enjoy this little ceremony. Often, walking home from class alone, I'd stop for something, a brioche, a muffin - anything that in some small way recreated those childhood moments. And then I'd walk home with a sense of anticipation.
I liked the idea of stopping off at a bakery. It was something my sweet-loving family always did, and I continued it, less for the taste of something suguary and more for the tradition. The notion. Just doing it added something to my day, to my life.
"We stopped for cinnamon buns" (or eclairs or coffee cake) was something I liked. Food was and still is and important part of everything in life. And, I liked sitting in a bakery-cum-coffee shop in the late afternoon and watcning the passing parade of oddballs who populate downtown Madison and any other big city.
In Paris, I've spent a fair amount of time sitting on a bench in Rue St. Antoine in the Marais. The windows of this Paul bakery inevitably draws me. Such beauty! Imagine one of these with your coffee today.
What are your end-of-the work or school-day rituals?