Talk to any Francophile and they’ll praise the baguette as a tasty piece of baked perfection. I am not one of those people. I don’t like baguettes. It’s controversial, obviously, but it’s the truth. I get annoyed when I hear people talk about ‘delicious baguettes’. I think French baguettes are overrated and tasteless lumps of crust. Okay, sometimes they have some flavour but in general, I don’t understand the hype. Smother it with enough salty butter from Brittany and it becomes a mouthwatering treat, but that’s due to the butter, not the bread.
Thankfully, French bread doesn’t stop at baguettes. The other options such as multigrain and nutty bread are delicious and it’s a wonder baguettes still sell at all.
On top of all this, baguettes are dangerous. My bread injuries are embarrassing. The most common injury has been sawing off the skin on my finger when the knife jumps off that ridiculously crunchy peak along the top of the baguette (pictured). Less common was the time I split my lip open on the crust of the bread. Blood dripped everywhere, like some sort of French baguette horror movie — ‘Attack of the killer baguettes’, anyone? The stupidest injury of all would have to be losing half my front tooth while chewing on a baguette just a few weeks ago. Okay, it was the same half of my tooth that I broke years ago in La Clusaz, but as I crunched down and felt a hard lump of tooth in my mouth, I knew immediately that the baguette was once again the victor. How many others have broken teeth on baguettes?
I’ve heard of other people needing stitches after trying to push a piece of stale baguette onto the fondue stick during traditional Savoyarde fondue soirées, but this hasn’t happened to me (yet). My other pet peeves about baguettes are that they are:
- often full of holes (where do you put the butter?);
- often too dry and/or overcooked;
- too small to pop slices in the toaster without them getting stuck; and,
- like concrete by the next day (whereas other French breads can be eaten).
The best thing possible with a baguette is to soak it in eggs and milk and fry it, French toast style: it’s called ‘pain perdu‘ (‘lost bread’) in French. Am I alone in my disdain for this supposedly top French food?