Re-reading this blogspot, one would think that, like the Caspian Sea fisherman who (everybody knows) only eats Beluga caviar, one would think that I only eat "luxury" items. Not so, but maybe I should try contacting that fisherman - he may be able to help me!
In fact, my only REAL luxury is the occasional tin of Beluga around the "Festive Season" - if I find it, and really, one cannot call a few ounces per year of the stuff anything other than a luxury!
Yes - when the Restaurant "Chez Mr le Marquis" is open (every tourist season) then I am obliged to try and present dishes a little more special, or at least considered as such by the Tourist visitors!
I recall, for example, trying to give a bit of advice to one of these Tourist families, some years ago, by suggesting that during their voyage from UK to Southern France, they stop in one or two "roadside" restaurants, and enjoy!
The reply I got was both "gratifying" and frightening!
"What for - We know the best Restaurant in France - Your appartment!, In any case, we don't understand the menus, at least my wife doesn't! As you know I don't eat anything that's poultry, so why she orders "gresiers" (chicken giblets - ed) for me, as a starter, I'm at a loss to understand! Then she whispers to me - You'll enjoy this, sugar!
I know that Mr le Marquis won't do that to me, so we just point the nose of the car in your direction, the rest takes care of itself"!
Maybe the prices had something to do with it as well....!
Strange urges sometimes come over me, outside of the Tourist season, and although "Walls pork or beef sausages" are not available in France, a tidy little meal of "Sausage and Mash" can be concocted with "Saucisse de Toulouse" or even grilled "chipolatas" and I concoct it quite often!
Of course, it sounds a little bit classy - even luxurious, under the name of "Saucisse de Toulouse grillée avec sa purée des pommes de terre", and although the German version sounds more down to earth with "Bratwurst mit Kartoffelpüree", for Tourist from England, and maybe Blogspot readers, it may still sound a bit luxurious!
The main problem is that it is difficult NOT to eat well, in France. At the same time, certain "traditional" dishes sound luxurious, and often are, but are not over expensive to prepare.
"Choucroute Royale" for example, is probably a most expensive dish to prepare in Britain, just the Riesling wine would cost a fortune, just to make your pickled cabbage, or Sauerkraut/Choucroute, never mind the knuckles and other cuts of hams, sausages and all the rest. Things which, if available in Britain, cost a lot.
But then - who would have thought that, hiding behind those cheap (nasty) tins of pre-fabricated "Cassoulet", on sale in France is nothing other than that British Institution "baked beans in tomatoe sauce"!
OK - a few overcooked boiled sausages and bits of ham are thrown in with them, but - if really necessary - Tourists can pick out the baked beans easily enough! Of course - to make the real article is expensive, even in France.
When I do my own "Choucroute", I invariably have some cabbage left over, and - together with some of my left over "purée des pommes de terre" - I concoct another British favourite, which I equally enjoy - from time to time "BUBBLE AND SQUEAK"! French people are mesmerised with this thing, and tend to "squeak" whilst "bubbling" - "I was always told British Cooking was poisonous....!"
The same thing applies when I prepare THE National Dish, (I forget the name for the moment....!)
They are surprised, as are the British tourists, when they learn that an almost identical dish exists in the classical French cuisine! It's called "Poisson Orly" and the difference is that the fish is in "strips" or "goujons" as are the fried potatoes served with it, and the whole thing is accompanied by a form of tomatoe sauce.....now you know! Of course, I have the secret of BATTER - without which neither of these dishes is worth anything at all!
The question is - must I count these things as "luxuries"? The only real luxury would be to have a pint of bitter with the fish and chips, and since I detest the stuff, that doesn't happen!
I know British Tourists who fill important car space with various tinned products, from Britain, for the holiday - "'cos you can't get it in those heathen lands we're going to!"
Bacon is available in France as well, baked beans (as described above) also - even that very British concoction named "HP Brown Sauce" (now made in Holland) is available.
Ketchup also - Salad cream is NOT available, but mayonnaise with a bit of vinegar will give the same thing.....!
Equally well, I know German Tourists who pack in "Aufschnitt" (different varieties of sliced cold delicatessen sausages), German cheeses, the one and only German seasoning product "MAGGI" (to be found in almost ALL German restaurants and "Gasthäusern" and applied as liberally as the British apply the salt cellar!)Other things like instant soups, German style savoury cubes, and - insult to injury (in a country like France) - BREAD (often the pumpernickel style ones) take up valuable car space, although they are all available in France anyway!
As tourists always say - "It's so nice to go on holiday and try different things.....!"
Everyone, and every Nation has it's own thing,
It's just that I don't like these things, and/or prefer making my own, which probably IS a luxury, but the thing is that - none of the "visitors" at the Resto "Chez Mr le Marquis" - ever ask for these things...!
There we are, simple things, like the caviar for the fisherman, Oysters for the ostriculturer, bubble and squeak for the Marquis!
Vauvert, France - Septembre 2010
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