Saturday, August 16, 2008
A Cut Above
When I was in high school, I spent two weeks with a family in Draguignan, a town in the south of France. While there, I was lucky enough to taste southern French home cooking. At every meal a fresh baguette was waiting to be chopped up and devoured. My host family had a special contraption that always was on the table. I'm not sure what the exact word for it is but I like to call it a "coupe baguette". Quite like a paper-cutter, this "coupe baguette" consisted of a long serrated knife with a handle attached to a wooden base. One would put the baguette on the base, press the handle down, and "coupe" the bread into whatever size slice they preferred.
I remember my host family taking me all around the area, to wonderful traditional pottery shops and oil shops, asking if I wanted anything to bring home to my family in America. I told them, the only thing I wanted was a "coupe baguette" like the one they had at home. Well, we searched and searched and couldn't find one, I was very disappointed. On the day I left, my host family presented me with their family's "coupe baguette". I was thrilled and honored! I wrapped it up in my carry-on, brought it on the plane (something you could never do now....look at the size of that blade!), and continue to enjoy it today.
I am still searching for another "coupe baguette" but have yet to find one. The company who makes mine is called Au Nain (they also make expensive cutlery) but they do not list it on their website. If you ever come across one of these, snatch it up. It's a tool that is forever useful, fun to display, and a joy to use.