January 18, 2019

Food for Thought

A little over a decade ago, a French friend from Bordeaux, Tatiana, gave me a canelé she baked. I had never seen or heard of them before. All her friends raved about them. She was reluctant to share the recipe with professional bakers because she was concerned that it might become a hit in the US; she wanted it to remain a special thing she baked.

Well, her fear was not paranoia. Now they are everywhere. When I was in Japan a few years ago, I saw them there too. Trader Joe’s has them, and they are pretty good. They come frozen but quickly defrost. In fact, I kinda like them cold inside; they are almost like chewy ice cream.

Every time I see canelés, I think of Tatiana; how accurate her hunch was. If she had started baking and selling them to cafes and restaurants back then, she would have a big business by now. Tatiana de Bordeaux could have cornered the market. I could see her face on the labels too; she looks like someone who bakes kick-ass canelés. Well, maybe it’s still not too late. I just saw a photo of a canelé on my Instagram feed with the question, “Does anyone know what this is?” I suppose any great French products will spread around the world sooner or later. So, all French people must be naturally protective of their heritage as they wouldn’t want to see it bastardized on the shelves of Trader Joe’s. But, that’s too bad.

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