Thursday, January 14, 2010

Murdering the Eiffel Tower?

Ah well.  Another clumsy day.  This time the poor Tour Eiffel has paid the price.  Tim, one of my 7th graders, put together an Eiffel Tower for class.  La Grande Dame  has been sitting quietly on my desk for a couple of months.  I had managed to only cause minor damage a couple of times... until today.  I was getting ready to set up a "photo shoot."  Alex, an 8th grade student, brought in a book for me this morning, Murder on the Eiffel Tower, by Claude Izner.  His mom read it with her book club and sent it in for me.  Here's the blurb on the back...

The brand-new, shiny Eiffel Tower is the pride and glory of the 1889 World Exposition.  But one sunny afternoon, as visitors are crowding the viewing platforms, a woman collapses and dies on this great Paris landmark.  Can a bee sting really be the cause of death?  Or is there a more sinister explanation?  Enter young bookseller Victor Legris.  Present on the tower at the time of the incident, and appalled by the media coverage of the occurrence, he is determined to find out what actually happened.  In this dazzling evocation of late nineteenth-century Paris, we follow Victor as his investigation takes him all over the city.  He suspects an ever-changing list of possible perpetrators:  Could mysterious Kenji Mori, his surrogate father and business partner at the bookstore Victor operates, be involved in the crime?  Why are beautiful Russian illustrator Tasha and her colleagues at the newly launched sensationalist newspaper "Passepartout" always up-to-date in their reporting?  And what will Victor do when the deaths begin to multiply and he is caught in a race against time? 

What is there not to like about a storyline such as this one??  Anyway, always looking for a photo-op for the blog, I thought about taking a photo of my model and the book for a future entry.  Good idea up until when I tried to pick her up and knocked her to the floor.  Oops.  (That wasn't quite what I said, but at least I said it in French and no students were in the room...)
So, Elmer's glue in hand, I will get to work now and try to get her reglued before Tim comes back and sees what I've done.  I'll keep you posted on the book.
On another note, if you haven't seen the movie Les Choristes, you should rent it.  We are watching it in French 7.  Besides the fact that the young lead is "hot" according to my girls, it is an inspiring story set in post-WWII France in a boarding school for boys, Fond de l'etang (bottom of the pond).  Everyone has basically given up on these boys and the headmaster cares nothing about them.  Enter M. Mathieu, a former music teacher hired to be the surveillant or prefect.
And here is a nice little treat to eat while watching...  In French style, there is not much sugar used so they are not too sweet.

Petits Pains au Chocolat

1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cold butter (1 stick)
2-3 Tbsp. cold water
3- 1 1/2 oz. thin chocolate bars (think Hershey-type bars-- milk or dark chocolate works)

Sift flour, salt and sugar together.
Cut in butter until particles are the same size as small peas.
Sprinkle in cold water over mixture tossing lightly with fork until dough holds together.  Chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on floured cloth or board to 12 x 6- inch rectangle.  Fold ends to overlap in center.  Turn half way around on the board and repeat the rolling and folding.
Roll out to 16 x 10 - inch rectangle.   Cut in half to form two 10 x 8 rectangles.
Arrange pieces of chocolate about 1/4-inch apart on one rectangle of dough.  Use 1-inch squares of the chocolate bars.
Brush dough with water or with slightly beaten egg whites.  Cover with second rectangle of dough.  Press together.  Cut between chocolate pieces with sharp knife to make individual pastries.  Brush tops with egg whites.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 425F for 10-12 minutes.

Servings:  12-24 cookies.

Bon appétit, ma pauvre Tour Eiffel.

1 comment:

14cyang (AKA ncacswimmer or "Cath") said...

Mrs. E, I loved Les Choristes!!! It was an amazing movie, and Jean-Baptiste Maunier's voice is incredible.