“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince
I have a little bit of a Petit Prince obsession. I have a copy of the book - in French - even though trying to read in French gives me a headache. Poor Dixon has no choice but to let a Little Prince doll hang out in his room (it was a gift from my sister). It's next to his Little Prince bookends (a gift from my friend Alison).
It's such a nice, simple, sort of lovely book and my favorite quote is the one above. Of course, none of it has anything to do with food.
But I started thinking about the book last night because I was thinking about my French classes in high school. Junior and senior year, I had this teacher named Mme. Hamerstrom. She was so funny - kind of a goofy lady who was always smiling and who had crazy red hair. She had pretty much no control over her classes (and I had her for French IV and AP French - not exactly classes populated by the biggest troublemakers in school). She had endless patience, though, and never seemed more than exasperated when we called her at home to admit that we hadn't paid any attention all semester and really needed her help to study for the exam. (We really were good kids. She just made it easy to take advantage.)
Junior year, to get an A in her class, we had to read Le Petit Prince and come in after hours for a small group discussion on the book. I'm pretty sure I actually went to that study group wearing a bathing suit, just so she'd know that I was anxious to get out of school so I could lay out.
Somehow, despite my active effort to not learn anything, I ended up really enjoying her class, I have a passable knowledge of French (reading it, at least - I have a terrible accent) and I developed this Petit Prince obsession.
And here is how this is about food: Mme. Hamerstrom let us have fetes in class at least every other Friday. Sometimes more frequently. Fete day meant that we didn't have to do any work, and we got to eat leftovers from my friend Mandy's job at Vie de France, as well as other nominally French treats we brought in.
One of those treats, though, was pretty legitimate, and it's something I still eat. One of the girls in class, Sarah, had just moved to the US from Belgium and she'd spent some time living in France, too (her French was waaaay better than ours). During our first fete, she brought something so simple that we almost laughed at her, except that a) she told us that people actually ate it in France and b) it tasted really good.
And when I say simple, I mean really, really simple. All she did was slather some chocolate frosting (out of a can) on a baguette.
Healthy? No. But really pretty amazing. It's delicious and, for whatever reason, I was daydreaming about that exact snack last night. Which got me thinking about Madame and her crazy good-heartedness...and Le Petit Prince and his childlike existentialism.