06 January, 2009

Monday at Laduree

Mondays are the best day to start new projects: novels, diets, jobs, love affairs. In this great tradition I rekindled my love affair with Laduree, the teashop not the man. I got an early start to hike a substantial portion of the journey to Laduree. I planned to meet my daughter there after she finished work. She has a grueling job teaching in inner city schools where child neglect is apparent, and appalling. I think of London as a civilized nation so, to see children with rotten teeth is a surprise.

As I waited for my daughter I studied the Laduree propaganda: "The story of Parisian tearooms is intimately linked  the Laduree story.  It started in 1852, when Louis Ernest (my gran
dfather's name) Laduree, a man fron the South West, a miller by trade, created a bakery at 16 rue Royale in Paris.

In 1871, while the Baron Haussmann was giving a new aspect to Paris, a fire led to the conversion of the bakery into a cake shop. Jules (my grandfather's middle name) Cheret, the famous poster designer of the end of the century was in charge of the decoration of the cake shop. He was inspired by the pictorial techniques used for the ceilings of the Sixtine Chapel and the Opera Gamer.

At the time of the second Empire, with the development of Parisians cafe, Jeanne Souchard, (wasn't Modigliani's lover/model named Jeanne Souchard) Ernest Laduree's wife, daughter of a famous hotel-keeper in Rouen, had the idea to mix styles: the cafes and the cake shop therefore gave birth to one of the first Parisian tearooms. They had one advantage over the cafes: women were welcome and free to come at any time.

A place with such refined atmosphere and rich historical background attracted David Holder and his father Francis Holder, founder of the Holder group. They both decided to repurchase the famous house then upgrade it and extend it. It's chairman, David Holder insisted on keeping the great classics which gave the House its reputation, and on turning it into the Mecca of Parisian pastry creation, in its shops, restaurants and various tearooms."

I like history, but my true love is NOW.
A bird in the hand is worth more than in the bush, yesterday.
This wasn't my first trip to Laduree
and I wasn't interested in spending alot of money
so I sipped a cup of steaming chocolat viennois
with Chantilly cream on the side
as I carefully made my selections.
After all this was Monday:
the first day of the rest of my life,
and the last day of my past life up to NOW.

I was reminded of my quiet New Years Eve in Arizona:
watching 2008 pass away 
as my daughter, in London, 
was already living in the 2009.

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