More of a baguette of a woman than a miche…

Word count: 337 words

Reading time: Just over 1 minute

I read widely, watch movies and listen to the radio. In today’s post you’ll see an interesting piece of figurative language I’ve encountered recently. It’s from New Yorker writer Lauren Collins.

When my family and I went to Paris a year and a half ago, we had a number of items on our bucket list. The Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame. Montmartre. Eric Kayser.

Eric Kayser? What’s that, you ask? It’s a bakery. With the best bread in the world. A knowledgeable friend had recommended it highly and, lucky us, we discovered a shop within walking distance of our flat. Our family of five devoured three loaves of bread every day we were there! We were obsessed.

The only downside with our passion for Eric Kayser was that it prevented us from even glancing at any other breads. Like the newly in love, we were unwilling to consider substitutes. When I read the December 2/12 New Yorker, however, I wished we had been willing to flirt with the Paris bakery Polaine.

Founded in 1932, the bakery has grown exponentially  over the last 80 years while, incredibly, staying in the same family. The daughter, Apollonia, who is now in charge, took over following the tragic death of her parents (following a helicopter crash) and initially managed the business from her dorm room at Harvard.

Lauren Collins tells the Polaine story in her New Yorker article and manages to work in a few superlative figurative references. Here is my favourite:

Thin, pale, and refined, Apollonia – more of a baguette of a woman than a miche — is a formidable presence. She dispenses her opinions with the peremptory air of a mother-in-law giving child-care advice.

In case you were wondering, a miche is an extra-large loaf of bread, which, of course, contrasts well with those long, skinny baguettes. What a clever way of describing a baker as thin! Yet don’t imagine Apollonia to be a wimp. She can dish out advice like a mother-in-law.

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