Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Escape of the Palmiers

My brother, being both kind and evil, gave everyone two large boxes of cookies for Christmas. You can see them both on the floor:

Always protecting us, Possum knows how to make wayward items surrender.

We have a recurring issue with food and other so-called inanimate objects in this apartment. In the dead of night, things take flight, leaping off counters and mantels, hoping to escape from us. We are fortunate to have Possum, who considers it his patriotic duty to patrol the kitchen regularly and halt these attempts — as he is proudly doing in the photo above. If it weren't for Possum, we could easily starve — or eat a lot less sugar, which is pretty much the same thing in my opinion. 

Now, it's true that our food rarely goes on the lam when it's in the refrigerator, bread box, or a cabinet. It makes sense to keep everything in there. But our kitchen is very small. Large boxes of cookies present a storage problem that only a seasoned domestic engineer, like myself, with 30+ years of tiny-kitchen experience, is equipped to handle. And two boxes were a challenge even for me. So, after our trip home, I left the cookies on the counter and went to bed, hoping I'd be more clear-headed in the morning.

Big mistake:

Harris hopes to be a deputy patrolman someday.

The green box on the right holds six packages of Tate's chocolate chip cookies, which are available everywhere but are always nice to find in the cupboard whenever there are no homemade cookies or stray pieces of cake around. They are made with wholesome ingredients and no preservatives or chemicals besides what you normally find in chocolate chips and enriched flour. However, the box is so large that it won't fit in my cabinets. 

It does fit in the oven . . . but I'm smart experienced enough to know how stupid it would be to put it there, since the cookies are wrapped in cellophane and plastic inside the cardboard, and we seldom think twice before turning on the oven. So I planned to open the box and squirrel away individual packets in every nook or cranny I could find. (Had I opened it, I have no doubt that Possum would have caught those packets as they were heading in a line to the front door, too. They are feisty.) 

Possum will not be distracted from his duty.

The other marauding cookies were a new discovery: 2 pounds of "Petite Palmiers" from the Sugar Bowl Bakery in San Francisco. I admit I was unimpressed when we received them. They looked boring, having no chocolate or frosting, or even nuts or berries. I tried one and was reminded of a stale croissant dipped lightly in sugar, the same dim view I take of bigger palmiers in French patisseries — why settle for that when there's a pistachio, vanilla, or burnt-caramel eclair, or a pain chocolat-amande whispering my name?

However, after the palmiers managed to fling themselves en masse onto the floor, I reevaluated the survivors, of which there were many. They are made of good ingredients: unbleached flour, lots of unsalted butter, plus water, sugar, and salt. The preparation techniques produce "hundreds" of layers so they are truly croissant-y, just flatter and crispier. And that's not a bad thing at all, once you think about it. 

I found a home for the six packets of Tate's cookies, but the palmiers fit nowhere. So I admonished them to stay put at the back of our stove (which requires me to be maniacally alert since after 18 years of using it, I still turn on the wrong burner all the time). I sampled a cookie very occasionally. My husband began eating them more than occasionally. I began liking them with my morning tea, although they fell apart and made lots of crumbs if I didn't take huge bites. Finally I discovered [Duh!] that they are ideal for dunking. Their bunny-eared shape allows me to keep one sitting half-submerged in my cup as I carry it to the living room, where it is nicely saturated when I sit down.

Harris and Toffee came and went but Possum remained steadfast 
at the crime scene until I took over.

I will never again underestimate my brother's taste in cookies. What was I thinking? We have our political differences (Trump, Obama, Clinton) but we have many similar tastes.

In sum: If you are not giving up all foods with added sugar for a month (and we DO plan, to do this, I swear, but certainly not this month; February is a shorter month) and you have a suitable corral to contain them should they decide to rampage, you should get a box of Petite Palmiers. Each has just 5 grams of sugar (plus 8 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein), so you can go to town even if you're watching sugar. (And they say butter is loaded with healthful micronutrients — so there!) 

They are available all over the place, including Amazon. They even come in a 20-ounce size, but why would you want that?


  1. Cookies, jumping to their deaths in the kitchen! How wonderful that Possum was there to warn you all about the corpses laying all over. Our Chucky likes to herd woolie socks around our house; they are stored upstairs, but they always want to be downstairs, so Chuck watches them carefully to make sure they get to their destination safely! We both have excellent, watchful kitties!

  2. Like you, I originally thought Palmiers were going to be a nothing of a cookie, but fell in love with them.

  3. I, too, have always loved cats! We have 3 Siamese (my upper limit was 4). I have followed your blog ever since I discovered it while searching for information on Avignon. I live in the DC area, but we are planning to move to Boston in the next few years (my daughters work there). We have an apartment on Beacon Street. You post so many lovely photos of your cats and travels. I am an amateur oil painter and would love to use some of your photos for my paintings, and I wanted to get your permission. If you would like me to send you my email to respond, please let me know how to get the information to you without posting online.


    1. SiameseLover, welcome to Boston, and thanks for your kind words! If you send me another comment with your email address, I won't publish it but will send you a message.


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