There’s absolutely no doubt about it bread is very important to the French.
Your Croissant or your life
I read a story in the news a while back about a series of robberies in Paris where a man “in his forties” has held up a number of bakeries. He pulls out what police believe is a fake revolver, points it at the sales person and then runs off with his pastries without paying – he is known as the Boulangerie Bandit and never steals more than €20 worth of goodies. He is apparently partial to croissants and pain au chocolat.
Disaster without bread
I live in a small village in the sticks or as they call it here – les Ch’tis. There are about 140 of us who inhabit this tiny hamlet in the beautiful Seven Valleys area of Northern France. The nearest shop takes 10 minutes to get to in the car if you don’t get stuck behind a tractor or a cow.
The fact that the stores are a bit of a hike to get to has never been a problem since the shops come to us. The fishmonger comes on a Tuesday, the butcher comes on a Friday, the general store comes on a Saturday afternoon and until a few months ago the bread man came Monday, Wednesday and Saturday – delivering wonderful french bread and pastries.
There has though, been uproar since it was discovered that the man who worked for the baker and delivered the bread has been pocketing the cash from customers and the baker has understandably cancelled his deliveries. Since then there have been petitions to the Mayor (yes we have our own Mayor and several staff for this tiny village), grumblings in the street and generally the equilibrium of life has been hit as never before. Up until now when we’ve met people in the street and had no idea what to say we’d mumble something about the rain or the sun, now we just say something about “le pain” and it’s enough.
This week though there has been rejoicing. My neighbour and mentor Remy arrived in breathless excitement early yesterday morning and over a beer (him not me) told me that at last “all our worries are over”. To my surprise he didn’t once mention the Euro, the state of the economy, unemployment or high taxes – no, our woes are at an end as a new bread delivery round is to start tomorrow!