i was expecting to fall enamored with numerous things about France: the architecture, the language, the people, the history, the shopping, the nightlife, the wine, the overall feel of the city. i wasn’t surprised when i found myself saying “i just LOVE this” approximately 70 times a day, gushing over the quaintness of patisseries or the adorable little espresso cups or the beauty of the cathedrals or the way waiters absolutely love American girls. so, so much to love.

and i was determined to stay away from the sweets. yes, i went to the pastry capital of the world absolutely, doggedly resolved to not purchase one single eclair, baguette, croissant or fruit tart the entire time. and i did smashingly, amazingly well at keeping this promise to myself.

except, i hadn’t planned on one thing.
the crepes.

yep, i’ll admit it, i’m hooked. my very first bite of a crepe de fraise began an alarmingly rapid descent into a full-blown obsession not unlike an addict’s ravenous craving for his next fix. i had to try them at different locations all across the city, of course, to compare and discover who made the best crepes. by the Sacre Coeur, on the Champs Elysees, at Place de Clichy near the Moulin Rouge, at a corner café across from the Pantheon…i simply couldn’t get enough. one day, i do believe i had one for lunch and another for dinner. i was insatiable when it came to those delectable, fruit-filled pancake-esque delicacies. (and yes – Paris offered me my first taste of crepes. i’d managed to escape them for the past 28 years.)

but now, i’m consumed by the desire to open a creperie here in New York and spend my mornings pouring batter and slapping fruit for anyone and everyone who has yet to discover these little slices of Heaven. i introduced my parents to them last night in their lakehouse kitchen, which was a wild success of jams and whipped cream and stovetop splashing. my father, mister old-habits-never-die, change-resistant-to-a-fault, even dared to try a new creation at the ripe young age of 60. well…an almost new creation.

me: “dad, what flavor jam do you want?”
dad: “jam? no, i want butter and maple syrup.”
me: “dad, it’s a crepe, not a pancake. you put something in it.”
dad: “okay, well i like pancakes. i want butter and syrup on top.”
me: “for once, just let me make it my way.”
dad (slightly impatiently frustrated at the thought of change): “i don’t want anything in it. i want butter and syrup.”

clearly, some of us will always be more comfortable associating anything remotely new to something entirely familiar. while my mom and i rolled raspberry & strawberry jam into our crepes, my dad ate an open crepe with slabs of butter, drenched in maple syrup, dolluped with whipped cream, comforted by the fact that he was able to take my new Parisian craze and treat it like an every day pancake.

which, for those of us who have experienced the wonderful uniqueness of crepes, it clearly is not.

so today, i had the fun Wednesday experience of making them for my co-workers for breakfast, turning our little work kitchen into my very own creperie (and yes, that is an actual word, for those of you doubters…you know who you are). so maybe i couldn’t stay in Paris and have a fairytale existence forever, at least for now – but at least i can bring a little part of it back with me and fit it snugly into my life here, sharing it with the people i care about and learning to perfect my recipe and try new concoctions.

i think i’m learning that’s what you do with life – you find things you love and you figure out how to make them your own and fit them into your little world, settling them just-so amongst your favorite shoes and dreams of one-day, and you map your smiles and trace outlines around the best of memories until you realize, i’m doing the best i know how to do. and for now, that should be enough.

mmmmm

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