Apron Optional: Sandwiches in Paris

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Hey everyone! Still in Paris!

Though I have been out on the streets all day frequenting museums and eating everything in sight, I have been very fortunate to be staying in an apartment with a working kitchen. Since my family is up and running pretty early, it’s great to be able to make something to pack up and take on the go.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to talk about the importance of ingredients. Sometimes, the simplest foods can be the most delicious and presentable. The difference between just another lunch and something memorable can be as simple as the quality of what you put into it.

Before getting to France, my family had anticipated cooking a few meals while we were here. The kitchen works, but it is definitely lacking in a lot of areas: there are only two dull cooking knives and the electric stove is temperamental to say the least.

Because of this, we have had to alter our plans a bit to compensate for the lack of baking capabilities. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge sandwich person (pizza, either — I know, I’m a freak). There is just something so mundane about the sandwich — it’s more of a means to an end than an experience.

However, of all the sandwiches I’ve had, the handful that stick out are all high quality but incredibly simple. For the past few days, we’ve gotten a morning baguette at the bakery down the street and I have made sandwiches to go with some pancetta from a local charcuterie (the fancy word for a meat shop) and some obscure soft cheese (the name peeled off, but it is very similar to a rich brie) from a fromagerie (cheese shop) in the neighborhood. I can’t stop eating currants (and making puns about them), so I usually have some on the side.

The great thing about Austin is that there are so many local shops that sell fresh and superior food products. The bevy of farmers markets, specialty shops and bakeries makes shopping for food fun and accessible.

In simpler foods, the quality of your ingredients makes all the difference — you know, like the difference between eating a ham and cheese and enjoying a pancetta and brie.

Next week, I will be back to my usual apron-enhanced cooking adventures, probably still reeling from French food withdrawals.