Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Thought We Were on the Set of Downton Abby

"Mr. Carrrrson would like to see you in his office," says Mrs. Hughes to one of the servants.

It's what I hear when I look upon the kitchen, the scullery, the servants' dining room in the Camondo mansion. It feels as if we literally stepped into the set of Downton Abbey in the early 20th century.

I recently wrote of the splendor and tragedy of the Camondo family that included photos from their mansion. I didn't include the kitchen because it was so amazing it needed its own space. So often when we see the splendor of wealth, we rarely get a look at the trappings that kept the wealth well fed.

I find an old French culinary store that's been in business since the 1900s. I step into the past, into a chef and a baker's dream. The ceiling is almost two stories high and the shelves almost reach to the top. I walk through the store like it's a museum. If I had these pans, I could make French pastries, I imagine. A stack of pans with madeleine cookie forms takes me to Marcel Proust's piece on rediscovered memories in his aunt's kitchen. I could make madeleine cookies. But I'm not so foolish to fall for my own delusions. These pans would sit in my cupboards as I dreamed about French pastries and cookies. But oh my...the pans. Thick as granite slabs...if I had just one good French panIt would always be put to good use. When I find the price, at it's equivalent to one month's rent, I know I will never cook with a good French pan--more the reason to admire the pans from the Comando kitchetn.