Pleasures of Food

by Goldie on July 6, 2010

in quick thoughts

Going from non-observant to an observant Jew has all sorts of challenges along the way.  One of the challenges is that the comfortable routines often go away as the places you hung out at become “not an option” due to reasons of kashrut.   Back when I lived in Santa Cruz my favorite way to begin the day was a bike ride to Java House – which was this big converted warehouse – where I would have a cup of coffee or chai and a croissant. I would enjoy the food and drink while listening to the classical music and watching the sunlight filter in to the room.   It was wonderfully refreshing way to begin the day before heading on in to work.

Queue the passage of time and the taking on of observance and even replicating that morning ritual was not so simple. For some reason the taste of a croissant was an essential part of the memory.  I suppose it is a bit silly, but sometimes I have food connections with a memory as much as a scent connection with that time and feeling.  Over a number of years I looked to see if there was any place online that sold real, with butter (Cholov Yisroel) croissants that I somehow could get shipped out to my in the middle of the country location.  As it turned out, I had no luck in my searches.

Finally a little more than a year ago I decided to take matters into my own hands and just make some croissants.  I found a recipe online that seemed to be from a likely authentic and good source. Gathered up the ingredients and made some croissants.  I did not remember the butteriness of the pastry.  Wow it was intense.  I don’t know if it was a lack in the old croissants or simply the lack of butter in most of my daily food but the taste was intense.

Amusingly not long after making my own I was planning a trip to Los Angeles to visit my parents and in checking out the kosher establishments available in the area, lo and behold, there was a kosher French patisserie that was Cholov Yisroel, that had opened in the Pico Robertson area.  When I made it to LA the first stop was to Delice Bakery to order some baked goods and a plain croissant and a cappuccino.  As I sat by the window to watch people walk by, and bit into my first piece of croissant I was in heaven.  It tasted very much like the ones I had made, but the pleasure of eating baked goods someone else had made, and enjoying the view and music was just such a pleasure.

Now when I come out to Los Angeles I pick up some pastries at Delice Bakery and each time I truly appreciate the baked goods.  Back when it was just grabbing something at the coffee shop, I obviously appreciated the food, but having it be a rare treat certainly has elevated my appreciation of such.  This morning for breakfast I was able to enjoy another croissant and realize how different food can be when it is not quite so every day.  Perhaps it is worth enjoying the more common food that way as well.

Oh, and if you happen to be in LA, not far from Pico and La Cienega, it’s worth dropping by Delice Bakery, whether you keep kosher or not. 🙂

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