Macaroons. They are these things that you eat. I was only familiar with them as a Passover treat. I like to cheat. Do you like my beat? Ahem. Anyway. There is no yeast or anything like that in Macaroons so Jews are inclined to eat them during the holiday in which you are not supposed to eat things with yeast or anything like that. When I was a young boy I more or less followed Passover, since that was how I was raised and I didn't know any better. I remember always enjoying Macaroons, and then after Passover they went away and that was that.
Passover macaroons by Manischewitz, which makes not only the best wine but also the best macaroons (actually they make the best nothing)
In more recent times I have learned that not only Jews eat Macaroons. In fact, they have their origins in Italy and derive their name from the fact that Italians first started making them with almond paste, which is the color of macaroni pasta (this is according to Wikipedia, so take with a grain of salt, though the article seems pretty solid).
They are made with egg whites or pastes, such as almost pastes, sugar, often coconut, often chocolate, and can be considered more of a confection or more of a cookie depending on how they are made. There are two main styles of macaroons, although I suppose that's a generalization, but still a useful one. The macaroons that Jews and a lot of other people are familiar with looks like this:
This macaroon looks lonely, doesn't it?
The other main type of macaroon is popular in France and looks like this:
These look less lonely, not to mention more colorful
Now this French-style macaroon is my favorite. It is made mainly with egg whites as a base, and comes in a wider variety of flavors and colors (the color may reflect the flavor or may simply be for decorative purposes). I have become rather enamored with the French macaroons, thanks to Bouchon Bakery, which I have discussed on this blog before. Bouchon, located in the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, is owned by Thomas Keller, the renowned French chef, French by technique, not nationality, I believe.
Anyway, I took off work today for a doctor's appointment (yes, another doctor's appointment), and afterwards ended up at Whole Foods and then Bouchon. I purchased a pack of 6 macaroons, which cost like 20 bucs. Upon reflection I think they should call it a Mac-Pac, but that is sort of McDonald's-esque, but whatever.
The pack comes with assorted flavors, chocolate, cocunut, lemon, something else maybe, another something else maybe. They're all pretty delicious and as of right now I have finished all 6 (took about 3 hours since time of purchase. Anyway, if you ever come across French macaroons, either in France, in New York at Bouchon or elsewhere, or a place other than New York, if for some reason you choose to live elsewhere, it might be a good idea to try them.
Me eating a French macaroon from Bouchon. If you look closely you can see my blotches on my right cheek (that would be to your left)