Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The landscape flashes by in a blur, people towing camping trailers in the right lane, the most impatient in the left, and everyone else jockeying for their place in between. Two white lines between cars indicate the proper following distance. There are never two lines between our car and the one we’re following. This is not a place for daydreaming; someone may approach from behind instantly, or someone heading on vacation in a loaded camper might be crawling along on the left - all this with other cars zipping from one lane to another, each trying to beat the others in the race toward the South.

While we race rally-like, the radio plays. Music alternates with interviews. This being France, the interviews are about… cuisine. So, imagine someone trying to note a recipe, flying across the blacktop at 80 miles per hour, weaving to maintain the most advantageous position. Cuisine and high speed, a dangerous combination, yet we saw no carnage.

Luckily, it’s not my turn to drive.

A man with an accent we can’t identify gives an interview for his recipe for cod in bacon. A piece of cabaillaud (cod) or colin. Some chopped garlic, some white wine, some bacon or better yet, a sheet of smoked pork belly, salt, pepper and chopped onion. Season the fish, wrap it in the bacon. Fry the onions, add the fish, turning to brown it a bit, add the garlic, sauté a bit more, add the white wine and pop the whole thing in an oven to finish. Serve with rice. 

And old song by Jean-Jacques Goldman plays.

They talk about French cuisine in the Middle Ages, how so many ingredients that now form what we call classic French cooking did not exist, because nobody had been to the Americas to bring them back. No tomatoes, no potatoes, no peppers…

An updated version of “La Javanaise”, by Serge Gainsbourg streams from the speakers, followed by some news items: “A boulangerie was held up at gunpoint. Apparently, no bread was stolen”. French humor.

A quick tidbit about discusses oysters in gelée. Annette seems impressed, until I mention that it’s really quite simple to make, if you have good oysters and a clear seafood stock.

A song from “Starmania” plays. Strange. They’re not exactly into recent music on this station. These are good songs, but they’re at least ten years old. Maybe gourmets and aficionados of fine French cuisine don’t listen to rap…

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