A diverse offering twixt the interesting, the unusual, and the amusing.
Friday, 3 June 2016
My first true gastronomic experience.
When I was about 8 years old I stayed with a family in Dieppe as part of an exchange scheme. I spent a few weeks with them, then their son returned to England to spend a few weeks with us. Such things were popular then; I don't know if the same things happen nowadays.
As part of my time with the family we went on a round trip to Normandy, down into the Loire valley, across to Paris, then back up to Dieppe. It was a tour filled with wonderment, and some memorable food.
I wish I could remember where this particular restaurant was, but this is what I recall.
It wasn't a 'restaurant' in the classic sense, it was more of a woodland 'taverna', with rustic vine covered pergolas and even more rustic tables and benches. Running through the middle of the establishment was a small stream.
I don't think the place even had a menu, as with so many French eateries you just ate what you were given. In this particular case I believe it was famous for this trademark dish.
I remember seeing the chef dip a huge wire scoop into the stream and pull out a mass of small wriggling silver fish; something like tiny Sprats or Whitebait. These were drained of excess water then tipped directly into a large pot of boiling oil. The fish cooked in a matter of seconds and were served 'crispy' with a slice of lemon and some salad. As soon as one plateful was finished, another appeared.
As a small Surrey lad who had never travelled further than East Grinstead, I was enthralled. I seem to remember that we ate the fish whole, but maybe we removed the heads; it doesn't really matter.
It was a totally different attitude to food than I'd ever known. None of your meat and two vegs, but piles of tiny, just cooked, tiddlers. They were delicious, and we were actually encouraged to eat with our HANDS.
Such food, and even the method of eating it, is now commonplace, but in those days.....
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!