The two duck legs [cuisses de canard] are seasoned with Five Spices, braised, set on a bed of sauteed onions and garlic, and put in a slow oven for two hours, so I have some time. Here is a mystery that continues to stump me: All over Paris [and, I assume, the rest of France] I can get simply wonderful bread. At the moment, I am eating a piece of baguette de froment from a Keyser outlet on rue Monge, but there are many other places where I can get crusty, light baguettes every day. I have never found anyplace in the United States that makes a good baguette. The bread at WholeFoods is godawful, as is the bread at the very upscale elegant A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. The only really good bread I have found anywhere in the United States is made by a group of young artisans on State Street in Northampton, Mass at a place called The Hungry Ghost. Their French batard is in fact the best bread I have had anywhere in the world.
Now, why is this? Is it the wheat? The oven? The water? Does anyone know? If I could reproduce a standard French baguette in America I think I could make a fortune.