Food plays a unique role in my novel, Paris Never Leaves You, not only for its intrinsic appeal but as an expression of Vivi’s search for her identity and the conflict between Charlotte’s past in Paris and their current life in New York. At one point, Vivi muses about the culinary dichotomy of her two worlds.
One day Charlotte comes home from work to find that Vivi has been baking with their neighbor, Hannah, and again the difference between Charlotte’s past in Paris and Vivi’s life in New York becomes evident. Brownies are Vivi’s favorite, Hannah tells Charlotte.
“Since when?” Charlotte asked without thinking. The last she’d heard her daughter was partial to macarons and biscotti, but then she hadn’t made either in a while. By the time she got home from work, she had all she could do to get dinner on the table. Besides, what teenage palate isn’t more attuned to a gooey brownie than an austere biscotti?” And then there’s the cassoulet, an elaborate multi-ingredient time-consuming dish, that Charlotte makes on weekends in order to have dinner to heat up during the week for her and Vivi.
Ellen Feldman's French Omelette
- 3 fresh eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cold water
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- Fresh herbs, for garnish
- Combine eggs, salt, and water in a mixing bowl. Whisk for 1 or 2 minutes, until whites are completely blended.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 9- inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and before it starts to sizzle, pour in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, lift and scramble the eggs, scraping the edges and bottom of the pan while shaking it in a circular motion so the eggs cook slowly and evenly.
- Reduce heat to low and smooth the eggs to create an even thickness with a surface that is wet but not runny.
- Remove the pan from heat and use the spatula to begin rolling the omelet, starting at the handle side of the pan. Roll about 3 times until the omelet is 2 inches from the opposite side of the pan. Fold the last flap of egg over the top of the cylinder, leaving the seam side up. Add 1/2 tablespoon buter to pan, melting it under the omelette.
- Slide the omelette to the edge of the pan and flip onto a plate with the seam side down. Brush the outside with a bit more butter. Garnish with herbs and serve.