Tuesday, July 19, 2005
A la recherche du temps perdu
Today I saw something scrawled on the condensation on a window in midtown New York. It appeared to say "Dumas". This got me to thinking, not about The Count of Monte Cristo (a topic for another posting), but about things from my past that are sadly lost.
Dumas was the name of a bakery across Lexington Avenue from the house I grew up in. This was a genuine French bakery known especially for its fruit tarts. At Christmas demand was so great that they borrowed a double-decker bus belonging to a downtown French restaurant. Orders for people whose last names started with A to M were picked up inside the store while N to Z picked up theirs in the bus. We didn't buy much from Dumas since it was pricey, and there were plenty of other bakeries in our neighborhood at the time. But later the owners opened up a new branch in the upper 50's near Bloomingdale's, near to where I worked. There I learned the delights of noisettes chocolate. These wonderful cookies were chocolate meringue loaded with hazelnuts. They were wildly expensive ($6 a pound but it was 1974), but since the meringue was light, there were a lot of cookies in a pound. Boy, where these good! Alas, ultimately both branches of Dumas closed and the fruit tarts and the noisettes chocolate have been relegated to memory.
And as long as we are reminiscing about bakery items, I sorely miss the prune danishes from the Royale Bakery on West 72nd Street. It's hard to find a decent prune danish anywhere in New York these days. It's just another sign that the end of civilization is nigh!
And as for the photo, it has nothing to do with the post, but since I didn't have a shot of a hazelnut meringue, I thought I'd post this little ruby-throated hummingbird.