Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Closest I'll Get to Minnesota Out Here, or the Lutheran Church Ladies' Bake Sale

Before les Armures, Erin and I were getting really, really hungry. But not hungry enough to wait for twenty minutes for our food. So we went to church.

Specifically, Erin is fond of photographing old church sites, and I am fond of choral music. Because the Fete de la Musique - the annual music festival - was this weekend, we got to enter church buildings during typical off-hours (Erin: check) to listen to motets that were on my Music 1a syllabus (Heidi: check). And near one of these churches (virtually all Lutheran, of course, given John Calvin's OG status in Geneva - yah, you betcha I linked Urban Dictionary in a Calvinist sentence) was a bake sale. Given the collusion of our hunger with our Minnesotan (and more-or-less Lutheran) roots, we were (pre?)destined towards the Lutheran ladies' lunch cart.

We had to buy something. We ended up buying several things, especially as we realized these goodies were the equivalent of savory two-bite brownies and could be managed in one bite. Plus, one item was CHF 2.50, but four items were CHF 8, as we rationalized...so here they are.

Erin and I both agreed that we each picked a hit and a flub. First photo and top of the third: the salmon-spinach roll. That was my flub -- I picked it because it looked pretty. The phyllo was delicious and flaky, but the spinach - as well as the salmon - was just plain salty. Hitting the piece of salmon in the roll was like the opposite of hitting an oasis. That said, my winner was amazing - it was the onion donut (bottom right of third photo). Biting it felt like striking payday on an oil sponge, but it was clearly just fried, and the oil evaporated once you swallowed. The onion flavor was strong but not overpowering, and the texture was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Think about it as a spongy popover.

Erin's flub was the regular cruller-donut ball (left of third photo; partially shown). It was basically a copycat of the onion donut, but supposed to be "sweet." I imagined it as the donuts one eats at Chinese restaurants, but it was not very soft or doughy like Chinese donuts. In fact, despite the giant air bubble in the middle, it was pretty dense...this might have been due to the fact that they were probably cooked much earlier in the day as the donut felt a little stale. Also, not judging, but there was no visible hint of sugar. Her winner was excellent, though - a ham, cheese and potato mixture wrapped in phyllo. Warm and comforting, especially with all the rain outside this period, and a good portion to boot.

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