The biggest daily reward for patience comes after waiting in line in the warm, toasty, yeasty bakery for your daily baguette. The best moment of the day has arrived. As you exit the bakery with the door bells tinkling, you raise the baguette like a baton and tear off the tip of the baguette. The crusty, well cooked, almondy morsel is glory in your mouth. Oh what a moment of complete bliss. A moment lost in the pure joy of taste. All magnified by the walk home under a medieval skyline, lost in the feeling of being in another world.
Adding to this sense of jubilation is knowing that you have just done something that,at any other time, would be the greatest transgression against polite French society. You just ate something while walking down the street.
Some cultures treat food as fuel. The French treat food as cause for worship. The proper worship of food can only take place in restaurants or homes. Never on the street. Except for baguettes! There is only one way to worship the baguette-- taste it while it is very fresh. Chew worshipfully and slowly because this one exception to the rule has strict limits. You may only eat one bite of one end. You may not eat more than this. If you eat a second bite you risk hearing these two words from a passerby: “Bon appetite.” These words are meant as a sincere blessing for your enjoyment of a meal if you are in a restaurant or at home. Heard on the street, this two words, accompanied by a wagging finger, mean “Ahah! Gotcha!”
Perhaps this is why the feet moving towards home and away from the bakery are always livelier than the feet heading into it.