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Kitchen Rhythm: A Year in a Parisian Pâtisserie

Two of my favorite things: baking and language.

“I think I can hear it but I can’t define it in words. Such is the problem with a manual skill, so too with a new language: how to translate your sensations through a new filter.”

Longreads

Frances Leech | Vintage | March 2013 | 14 minutes (3378 words)

The Longreads Exclusive below is based on Frances Leech’s ebook of the same name, published in 2013 by Vintage UK.

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To make chocolate mousse, enough for 150 people, say, first whip the cream — liters and liters of it. Then, separately, whisk the egg yolks. Boil sugar and water and add to the yolks, still whisking, in a thin drizzle. Melt the chocolate, then stir, fold, and whisk everything together with some gelatin.

What is missing from this description, the bare-bones sketch in the red address book that alphabetizes all of my work recipes, is the physical sensations. When I started my apprenticeship in Paris a year ago, I learned that baking can be at once precise and vague. Measure everything to the last gram, simple enough. Harder to describe what the meringue mixture should look like when it is…

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Happiness Engineer for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Linguaphile and Translator. Tester.