November 30, 2018

Food for Thought

This is a canalé I picked up today on my way back from the Brooklyn Public Library where I participated in a linguistic study involving Japanese and English bilingual speakers. My Japanese is rusty (perhaps beyond rusty) because I stopped using it ever since I moved here at age 16. Because I alone made the decision to move here, I had something to prove. I consciously avoided socializing with other Japanese people, watching Japanese TV, or reading Japanese books, not because I disliked them, but because I was committed to becoming as American as possible. But as this research will likely prove, it’s not possible for someone to acquire another mother culture.

About 10 years ago, a French immigrant friend introduced me to canalé. Both in texture and shape, they stand out from other French pastries. Their chewiness rivals that of mochi. However, this particular one from Joyce Bakeshop is different; it has the texture and the wetness of Spanish flan. For my taste, it’s the best one I’ve ever had.

I’m curious what my French friend would say about Joyce’s canalé. She grew up eating canalé in France; it’s practically in her blood. For her, Joyce’s canalé might be a bit strange. As someone who only recently started eating them, I cannot tell you how canalés are supposed to taste; all I can tell you is what I personally like. When I went to 15 East, the high-end Japanese restaurant in Union Square, I immediately and correctly guessed that the owners are not Japanese. Something like the soul or “mother” was missing from it.

Mother culture is like the water fish swim in. Saltwater fish will react adversely if you put them in fresh water, but they wouldn’t know what changed because they are not aware of the existence of the water.

#canalé #frenchbakery #nycfoodie #instafoodie