Breakfast In Paris (With A Side Of Bourbon)

Jennifer Hulley food photographer food and travel writer

What brings you joy? Like pure unrestrained smile stretching from ear like a giant muppet kind of joy?

A vacation in a sunny destination? A new MacBook?  Probably lots of things. Now think about this: what is the simplest thing that brings you joy? Like bare bones simple, easy to accomplish or experience, but makes you warm on the inside happy.

Is it the smell of coffee perhaps? Or maybe it's listening to your favourite song over and over on repeat?. Or maybe it's listening to said song over and over while drinking a freshly brewed cup of your favourite coffee? Gah! The joy! ( I'll stop there before your head explodes into a joy-gasm).

The "slap you in the face" reality is we often know these experiences exist but prevent ourselves from experiencing them fully and avoid spending out on that experience either fiscally or cognitively, or even both. Those fleeting times when we do spend out on an experience, say a melt in your mouth almond croissant with a cafe au lait, we aren't even there. If a tree falls in the woods but no one hears get my drift?

Mindfulness is not our strong suit

A lot of this comes down to the nature of our existence: the rushing, the texting, the updating, the checking, the planning, the scheming, and then the starting it all over again the very next day. Day after day after freaking day. It's amazing we haven't all self-combusted or collapsed into a sobbing heap. Or maybe you have?

Food can be so comforting, and yet it is so simple. It grabs hold of you by the senses, yanking you into a state of mindfulness, forcing you into the experience as it unfolds. Who hasn't experienced that sensation of time standing still during their first bite of a melt in your mouth pain au chocolate? Or the very first sip of a freshly brewed latte, when you can feel the foam resting softly on your lips. Glorious.


It is consistently mind-bending that such steadying present-ness and the comforting warmth of wellbeing that can come from such a simple experience. And yet, what do most of us do? We run to the convenience section - dump some contents of a cardboard box into a pan and walk away until its ready. Or we zip through a drive through and stuff a grease-stained paper bag onto our passenger seat, likely eating half of its contents before we make it home. Then, those fleeting moments when we do manage to carve out some time to feed and refuel ourselves we stuff our faces quickly while scanning our mobile phones, filling out paperwork or cleaning the countertops. We don't even allow ourselves the luxury of sitting. And then, possibly the most frequent and heartbreaking story of all, there are the days that we skip meals altogether. If you are looking for an "American" horror story, this is it.

Take Back Your Mind and Your Meals

I picked up a new book yesterday, "Finding Yourself In The Kitchen: Kitchen Meditations and Inspired Recipes From a Mindful Chef" which tackles the concept of both being present in the kitchen but also the idea of making every day a celebration. It’s simple: take time, dive in, indulge now and revel in the joy that explodes the moment you start letting go and experience things. Well, I'm only roughly 40 pages in and I am hooked. It's a quick read, but a thought-provoking one and I can tell it will be a book I revisit from time to time. Somehow a few minutes of reading, reflecting and realizing prompted me to become more aware of what I had available to me: pears that were sitting on the brink of being too ripe, and what I actually WANTED: a breakfast in Paris. Oh, and bourbon.

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want, what makes me happy and a big part of this is can be easily dominated by obsessing over what I don't have. This emotional and cognitive rabbit hole can easily grab hold of me and send me hurtling down into an a dark and scary abyss populated with statements like: "In Paris I could…" or "if I moved back to London I'd be able to..." But as Finding Yourself In The Kitchen pushes us to remember: everything you need is available to you in the present moment. You can hit pause, take a breath and taste that fucking crepe, instead of the boring bowl of steel cut oats you subject yourself to every morning at home. The result? Some bourbon honey poached pear crepes for an epic weekend breakfast.

So what's the point of all of this? A friendly reminder to take the time to actively engage with the food you have in your kitchen (and if you don't have any maybe start thinking about working on stocking your pantry cupboard) and also to allow yourself to spend out on those every day moments that can easily be turned into a just becuase celebration (even if only for 1).

Bon Appetit mes amies!

(For the recipe that accompanies this post please click on the image below: