Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Mystery of the Four Frenchmen (Not to Mention the Belgian)

Reconstruction of Jack London's Alaskan Hut in...Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday was E.'s birthday, what was once a sad time now become a glad time. For several years there, when my wife was around 40, she bemoaned and bemoaned the imminence of her birthday, an emotional state to which I responded by trying to ratchet down her angst.

That is, I ignored her birthday.

Hearing this, you might say, "Even an idiot should have known he was being an idiot, you idiot." So you are smarter than me. Big deal. Where were you when I needed you?

(Between marriages? I see.)

Anyway, at a certain point my wife staged a one-woman intervention and explained that though I may have correctly diagnosed the condition -- that there was a condition -- my therapy left much to be desired when it came to addressing the underlying cause. I was supposed to make her feel better, not ignore the fact she felt bad. And so the regimen of the nice meal out, the flowers, the piece of tasteless jewelry was born, and now peace reigns.

But what about those Frenchmen? Yesterday we went to the magnificent Lakeshore/Grand Avenue Farmers Market and stumbled on a Frenchman selling his very own goat cheese, which was derived (his sign said) from his very own herd of 37 goats.

Sampled the cheese and didn't much like it. Too strong.

Then we wandered over to the market's food row and found a Frenchman selling high-end sausage. We bought a Fabrique Delices duck salami for $11. (Birthday! Whatever you want, dear.)

Two stalls over was a Frenchman from Lyon -- by this time the sheer unlikely onslaught of Frenchmen, rather like a sudden influx of penguins at nearby Lake Merritt, had piqued my interest and so I asked -- who was selling pricey meat and cheese pastries.

He said he put cream cheese *in* his pastry dough, which made them so very filling and fulfilling. They were about the size of a golf ball, but we bought one anyway, for $7.50, and it was quite lush.

I mentioned to this good monsieur that, damn, his ilk was out in force. He said, well, did you bump into that other guy over there in the market section, the one near the goat cheese maker, and I don't mean the sausage maker?

I said no, which disappointed him somewhat because he was going to say: Aha! He's not French. He's Belgian! Which he said anyway, to less effect.

Okay then, last night we went to one of our "treat" restaurants, Soizic, down at Jack London Square. And who should take our drink orders but ... ?

A Frenchman!

(Unless he was a Belgian or even a French-Canadian, and I could have asked but wouldn't that be an insult. And this guy seemed ready to be insulted, which is why we love the French, isn't it, their being just as high-strung as chihuahuas?)

You may ask okay what does all this add up to?

It is beyond dispute that my wife's birthday is a special day, but "special" manifests itself in many ways -- Old Mother Universe abhors monotony.

And this year that specialness expressed itself in: Frenchmen.

An inch of rain would have been nicer, but it's the thought that counts.
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Anonymous said...

Saw the link. So you dine with political heavy weights!!!! Well, aren't you special! Yes, apparently you are!

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Don't tell me 'the quality' eat at Soizic! Who knew?