As a good, French and perfect girl, I went back home for Christmas this year.
I wanted to see my family and friends, eat some real good French food of course, but this time I also thought I was on a mission: I had to crack the French and perfect women code for you guys...
What makes us so special? I'm still amazed at the number of books and movies on the subject.
So I spent a few days in Paris, thinking my best friends would have the answer.
Here they were, running in heels for the next subway while listening to a philosophical radio podcast and texting their "Jules" to pick the kids at the kindergarten because they were going to be stuck in the editing room to finish the documentary they had just directed, trying to find some time to have a glass of Saint Véran with me in between two ballet classes.
So what made them perfect, I asked? "I don't know, you tell me, I have no time for that!"
By the time I took the train to visit my grand-mother in the Loire valley, I was completely desperate.
Then mamie Georgine had me sit at her kitchen table, cooked me dinner, and brought me this.
A simple. Good. Pineapple cake.
My grand mother Georgine is 84, and very, very active. She walks all the time, at least an hour a day, cooks, gardens, cheats at Scrabble and takes care of her "petits vieux", the older people who live in her street. Talk about a French and perfect woman!
Just like my girlfriends in Paris, my grandmother never has the time for anything. She never had: she used to be a farmer, waking up at dawn to milk the cows, running all day rain or shine to take care of the vineyard or the hens, meanwhile raising three kids, with almost no money at all.
So how did she do it? And still does?
By making it simple.
That's her secret.
No fuss, just plain, good, and easy stuff.
Why bother trying sophisticated things which takes too much time and almost always end up being strange tasting if not totally bland?
She just takes what's in the fridge and in the pantry, and makes a quick, delicious meal that will allow her to spend quality time with the friends and/or family visiting her.
Like this perfect pineapple cake.
6 tbsp Sunflower oil or 3 oz butter
1/2 cup sugar
6 oz creme fraiche (or crema mexicana)
3 tea spoon baking powder
1 can of sliced pineapple
Preheat the oven at 300F
- Whip the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt
- Add the oil, the cream, and the flour
- Mix very well the batter
- Pour into a buttered round cake pan.
- Add the slices of pineapple on top of the batter
- Put in the oven for 45 minutes
When the cake is done, warm the juice of the can in a pan with 6 tablespoons sugar, and pour it all over the cake.
Now you can sit down, chat with whoever is lucky to be at your table, and enjoy being the French and perfect woman you are!
Meanwhile my grand mother must be walking somewhere near the Loire trying to find great wild mushrooms for tonight's dinner, or arguing with my father who doesn't want her to drive 200 miles alone to go to her cousin's 80th birthday party.
Mais quoi! That's the way she is and that's also why I think she is just perfect!
Bon appétit les amis