Muriel Barbery's first novel, Gourmet Rhapsody opens with the main character, Pierre Arthens, an acclaimed (and feared) food critic lying on his deathbed recounting his life. Memories of the illustrious meals he ate and the nasty reviews he gave them appear and re-appear. The reader quickly surmises that he is a curmudgeon -- Parisian-born and bred with haute taste and a general disdain for everyone around him (think of the food critic in Ratatouille sans Pixar redemption). There is one glimmer of light and it appears when our main character dies and requests a gougère -- his Proustian madeleine.
This week in Saveur, Elizabeth Gunnison recounts her first experience with the gougère and her immediate addiction to the pastry's light cheesy taste. Living in Paris as an impoverished student with a hearty appetite, Gunnison was constantly on the prowl for something besides the ubiquitous baguette or pain au chocolate. Fortunately for readers and pastry connoisseurs, Gunnison -- unlike Arthens, is not a curmudgeon and happily shares her own version of the recipe.
Gougères (Cheese Puffs) from Saveur
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