Breakfast in America

Home again! Now, we chose to live here – it’s no understatement to say we adoreLawrence – but as much as I love home, I always seem to want wherever I just was. All it takes is a short visit to a new place – a pleasant place that is work-less and unhampered by utility bills and trash bags – and we’re gazing at apartments in real estate windows. We’ve entertained a lot of brief delusions: Cooperstown, New York (too cold) Captiva, Florida (hurricanes, duh) St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (too hot) and, without question, Paris.

Certainly living in Paris is only fantasy – the current exchange rate makes even bottled water seem luxurious – but fantasy is duty-free and makes a fine, weightless souvenir. There are many good reasons to maintain a Parisian fantasy life, including art, restaurants, crepe stands and the pursuit of unattainable style; but for me, it is breakfast that tops the list.

Petit dejeuner, enjoyed by natives and tourists alike, is my dream breakfast of croissants, buttered baguette, orange juice and espresso. That is all, and that is all I want. It is so supremely satisfying, just bread and drinks, that I do not even bother with le Splenda. I unwrap sugar cubes with abandon. I munch on croissants and walk them off. The calories just don’t register, and I begin to wonder if an extra time-space continuum happened somewhere over the Atlantic.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t work at home. In Paris bread is life, and at home, bread is the quickest route to unhappy shorts season. There is an empty fridge on our first day back and we head out for sleepy-eyed breakfast – but I don’t want eggs and bacon, hmm, it all looks too big. My family has no delicate problems and is happy to spear sausage links again. Between bites Josie predicts it’s a phase, I’ll be back on the big-plate horse again soon, and she’s right – by dinner, a juicy burger is looking pretty good. Still, for just another day or two, it’s good to feel different, changed by even a little breakfast, and wish for sugar cubes and crumbs in my lap.

What place changes you?