Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We have a family saying that I’d almost forgotten. Whenever one of us has a grandiose plan or overestimates the real value/joy/deliciousness/ability of an undertaking or thing or idea and it just doesn’t pan out after all those grand words, one of the others will perhaps say, “You CHOOOSE it!!” And we all laugh, for all of us have chosen some doozies through the years, and we all take our comedowns with good humor.

The first year we were married, we were in Memphis one day and stopped in a lovely old tea room. As we entered, we passed by the scrumptious dessert cart set temptingly in front of the big bright windows.

Chris pointed to a creampuff concoction, called a religieuse, which is two puffs stacked upon each other, the smaller one on top. They’re usually filled with pastry cream or whipped cream, and their usual chocolate enrobing and the little frills of white cream decoration have given them the name “little nun.”

The namesake, in her little white wimple and collar:

Perhaps a group of novices, with their simple duties:

One of the grander sort, from the glittering cathedral of Laduree, font of many things beautiful and sweet:

Then there are those destined for the pomp of stately splendors, resembling the Great Orb of the British Crown Jewels:


Still others seem to have taken leave of their senses, and to have succumbed to having a makeover by the class of four-year-olds they were assigned to teach.

Whatever the garb, wherever the home, the small mouthfuls of pastry and cream and chocolate and all the other flavors and decorations are simply delicious. They take the plain old cream puff, classic in its simplicity, to new realms of delight.
As we passed the cart, Chris noticed that there was but one single religieuse left on the tray, and so he asked our server, a bright-smiling young woman, to save it for us.

As we were eating our tray of little sandwiches we’d ordered for lunch, we heard a commotion from the front of the restaurant, where our delightful little French waitress in her most charming accent had raised her voice in defense of our dessert, which was being confiscated by a waiter to serve to another diner.

There was a long spate of unintelligible words, which got the attention of every patron in the place, as the young woman’s shaking, pointing finger singled us out in our quiet corner.

Every eye turned toward us as she shouted, “NON!! NON!! HEEEEE CHOOOSE IT!”
So ever after, any decision was your own, and everybody in the family was quick to point out that YOU CHOOOOSE IT!



Southern Lady said...

What a neat story, Rachel. Isn't it nice how things like that stick with you throughout your life and become a source of fun and laughter every time you recall it.

Tonette said...

Found your blog Rachel! I think I might need a little something sweet now.

Kim Shook said...

Love the story and the looks of those pastries. I want to make some now!

racheld said...

We've acquired quite a few "old family sayings" in our own old family, that's for sure.

Kim, I KNEW you'd be the one to say "I want to MAKE some!"

And Tonette---it's lovely to have you visit---I hope you'll come back often!