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I think Simon has some quality bonding time ahead of him with his Uncle Ian. It’s just too bad that he won’t be back in California sooner.

You see, my friend Ian is a great lover of Danish. Well, all pastries actually. I’ve seen him hike up small mountains in San Francisco late at night to secure one of his favorite donuts from Bob’s, and I’ve watched from a bemused distance as he finds bakeries in every neighborhood in which he or I have lived. When Tartin first opened in the Mission District in SF, I knew Ian would be the first to give me a review. When I had a hankering for brioche in Pacific Heights, I knew Ian would support me against Matt and be willing to wait in a long line to get the goods at Boulangerie. And when we stayed with Ian and Christine in Oakland this past spring, I knew Ian would find a way to get a trip to his favorite bakery on the agenda.

I support his passion, even as I don’t share it. One of the few areas in which we disagree is the donut and most pastries. On the whole, I find them all too sweet donuts too greasy to be enjoyable. Ian thinks this is pastry heresy and downright un-American of me. He’s a big fan of cheese and fruit pastries, while I’d rather have a good bagel. And that’s OK; rational people can agree to disagree. Viva la difference.

My son, however, is clearly taking Ian’s side. A little over a week ago, the two of us were running errands together and stopped at Panera for lunch. I hadn’t bothered to bring a diaper bag with me when I left the house; I just stuffed some wipes and a bib in my bag and headed out the door. That meant that I needed to be sure I got food both of us would eat. I ordered a half tuna sandwich, a cup of corn chowder, and a cheese Danish, hoping Simon could nibble on the Danish on the way home if the rest of the lunch didn’t suit him.

He had never been given a Danish before, cheese or otherwise, and yet he seemed to recognize it straight away. His vision was so single-minded, that he didn’t even see the other food laid out before him. Instead, he spent the next 20 minutes doing all he could to dismantle the Danish. First, he licked the cheese part of the top. Then he ripped the pastry edges away from the center to get to cheese core. Once the sweet cheese was fully consumed, he turned his attention to the pastry bits. The edges in particular were tough going for him, but he attacked with a fury and dedication I had not seen before.

I watched, equally delighted and disgusted, as he bit and tore off parts of the pastry, chewed for a while, then took pieces out of his mouth to get some rest, and then put them right back in his mouth to finish the job. By the time he finished, the pastry was obliterated and a sticky coating of sugar and saliva covered his face, hands, and hair, shining nearly as bright as the smile that stretched across his entire face.

Bon App├ętit, kiddo. Enjoy it now when we can tell ourselves that all that fat is good for brain development.

Correction: D’oh! I forgot that Ian hate cheese in nearly all forms. No worries, though, as the next day kiddo devoured a cinnamon roll with alacrity. I tell you, he’s not picky. So long as sweet dough and lots of butter is involved, he’s cool.

2 Responses to “The Love of a Good Danish”

  1. christine says:

    Jessica, you of all people should know that Ian HATES cheese…except for pizza. Now me on the other hand, am a big fan of cheese-anything. Give me the Danish AND bagel!

  2. Jessica says:

    D’oh! Forgot about the cheese thing. Correction posted! The general spirit is still true, though. Just a few days later he gobbled up a cinnamon bun that I could not get through (too sweet), and all I could think was, “Honey, one day you and your Uncle Ian are going to have a swell time together.”

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