Courageously as ever, the Reporter despite some biting temperature, forged forward to examine the ways that the French deal with their kitchen and their supplies.
Now, the French, it has been said before, feel slightly mortified by the fact that all that fusion cuisine has appeared globally. Suddenly, what seemed to be their only rational kingdom, is now being shared by a lot more people.
Of course, ils haussent les epaules, or rather simply put, they shrug, as they do that so often.
And then they will take you to a kitchen emporium that looks like this :
So, you know, as a humble and shy American, you just look in awe, marveling at the extraordinary refined quality of these cocottes. A cocotte is one of those truly magnificent cast iron dutch oven that will leave your account depleted, and crush to crumbles your metatarsal bones if you let them fall on you feet.
But if you slide today a finger on one of these cocottes, and express your admiration, your french friend will shrug and tell you : " Oui mais celles-la sont pas les bonnes." Which only means, " Yes but those are not the good ones." So of course, you nod because you know nothing about kitchen tools and cocottes, and you want to see, and choose the good one.
So, like a puppy, you keep following your french expert with a look of envy at all those Le Creuset little things that are so shiny, and are shown in such lovely colors. And then he will stop there
and now you look at these dark matte totally unappealing ones, and you say, eager to please, " so these ones ? " and your friend will shake his head from left to right then left, and he looks still pretty unhappy. And then he will sigh and say, " Well those are not bad,..." like those cocottes just managed to get through the plague, and are still slightly tainted with germs.
Then you walk again, and leave your friend in deep reflection about the plagued cocotte, and suddenly you take charge, you go get one of these adorable shiny turquoise blue Le Creuset, and you walk to the cashier with it, and you don't even dare looking back at your expert friend who might be soon excommunicating you.
You rush the poor sales girl a bit, and just as you slide your visa card in the tiny machine, your friend arrives on you like a small tornado, looks at the package, so your heart stops. And then, he'll say : " Ah, tres bon choix !" Which mean, " Ah, an excellent choice ! " And then, you feel so clueless as to how the French function, so you just give up.
Now that you have passed the test, he will take you to have a look at the dish towels,
and there, you just ignore him totally, and choose the pale blue ones you like.
After that you just decide to buy some ham, and you explain to him, because of the Virginia ham, which ones to buy, and if he starts to explain to you that there is one from the north Cantal, which is lost in the middle of France, and no one goes there, but any food from le Cantal is totally appreciated by the French. So you just poopoo what he just explained, and tell him that there's nothing much like Virginia, and just forget the Cantal, and he becomes very meek.
Then, once you got the pink ham you really like, you both go out, stop at the clock repair shop,
which is in effect called the HORLOGER, as in above, and there when you pick up your old watch that has been totally revamped, you friend will tell the repair man, meaning you, ' Elle a du caractere, vous savez." which roughly means " She is pretty strong-willed, you know, " and there the clockmaker gives you a discount for your revamped watch, and that is where you know you are becoming slightly French, and you start to breathe normally.
And in the end, arm in arm, you cross the Seine, with your friend, and you feel like Paris is not so scary anymore.
Then it 's time to go to the bistrot and it's another challenge all over again, but at least the food will taste really fine.
With all love,