Monday, March 8, 2010

the games begin

Friday night, finally made it to Paris. Yesterday, Roger and I baked three different baguettes and a load of croissants. Baguettes were amazing! I mixed a poolish baguette, and Roger mixed two baguettes. Both heavy on water, long fermented. All three mixes were really nice. We agreed that the flour has that extra hint of extensibility, that really makes some nice bread. Beautiful open structure. The flour is very forgiving. I had great results with the croissants, as well. Again the extensible nature of the flour really allows for some outrageous oven spring. And the butter, like laminating velvet.

On Thursday, Dara finished her plaques. As the artistic candidate, she had to produce twelve plaques, don’t remember the dimensions. They are about twelve inches by sixteen inches. Twelve at the base. They must be labeled for the twelve months of the year, and display Americanism. She did a great job, on them, countless hours of work. She started them months ago. They are all made from “Pate mort” or dead dough as we know it. Boiled sugar syrup, rye flour and buckwheat flour. Nothing you could ever eat. But they hold up for long periods of time. Dara spent $$$ to get these shipped here, she had to use a “Fine arts” shipper. Pretty impressive the boxes he made for each of them. She had to do some slight repairs on five of the plaques, and then spray them with edible varnish. Today we dropped her and her plaques off at the convention centre. I got an early glimpse at the display stands that were made for each competitor.. They are about four feet in diameter, sixteen inches tall. The top horizontal surface is about three feet in diameter, so these twelve plaques will go all the way around the base and lean in slightly. She will have eight hours to produce a showpiece to set on this surface I’m speaking of. She bakes Tuesday.

Peter, will do his two hour prep on Saturday afternoon, and bake on Sunday. This afternoon, after Roger and I dropped Dara and her plaques off at the convention centre, we went on to return the car to the airport. No need to have a car in Paris, that would be an absolute curse. Plan was for Roger and I to drop off Dara, drop off the car and pick up Peter’s suitcase from British Air, and take the RER train to Gare du Nord and then the metro to our hotel. Turns out, it wasn’t a suitcase. It was a fifty pound crate, no handles! Peter had taped it and strapped it, so we managed, but if you ever ridden the Paris metro, you’d understand. There are times when you get on and off that train whether you want to or not. We wrestled that box back to the hotel, peter opened and voila, it was all there. We were all relieved.

So tomorrow, it’s back to the airport to pick up Patti, bring her to the hotel, and then back out to the convention centre. After the episode with Peter’s treasure chest, I’m looking forward to today’s travels.

A bientot.


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