Charlotte Freeman waxes lyrical on making a croquembouche:
It was still a little lumpy, and there weren’t as many stringy glistening strands as I would have liked, but overall, it was beautiful. It was a beautiful croquembouche. … I’d finished my project. I hadn’t cried all day. I had arrived at a party like a person who can survive disaster with aplomb. I’d called on my inner Julia Child, and she hadn’t let me down.
That’s what Mastering the Art of French Cooking is really all about. It’s about poaching your salt pork for precisely the right amount of time it takes for American salt pork to resemble French lardons.
And that’s what Julie Powell’s project was about. It was about being determined enough to figure out how to split a marrow bone, or kill a lobster, or learn to make a perfect pâte brisée.
It’s not about easy. Triumph never is.
A moral lesson from a croquembouche. Bizarre.