I am quite a regular at the local French take-out place next door to our school, Cafe La Tartine. Today I ordered one of my standards, "Half a Pan Bagnat, no onions, please."
The new counter person said, "Is THAT how you pronounce it? We're still trying to get that one right." (Long story about new owner and new help, not worth long explanation.)
Without being asked for elaboration, I of course offered it amply anyway. Hmm. Does my reputation precede me?
Pronunciation: pahhn ban-yah
Origin: Provence. I regaled them with stories of my junior year in Provence, and the way a pan bagnat was served there (not in a baguette, but in a big hollowed-out round of bread, pressed and sliced). Back then, it was a budget-minded student's dream come true for an all-in-one meal. Salade nicoise in a bun, kinda.
I found a great pan bagnat recipe in the New York Times. My favorite part?
"Put sandwich under a weight such as a cast-iron frying pan topped with a filled kettle, or have a child about 7 years old sit on it."
image via wikipedia