Monday, 3 November 2014

Forty days Pt 16 (How to tell if you are at a Northern French celebration)

(With apologies to The Toast)

1. Saying hello takes half an hour and is a minefield due to the differing, seemingly arbitrary numbers of cheek kisses imposed by the various groups of attendees. "You're three? Four?!" You have neck strain. You are contemplating faking your own death to avoid the goodbye bise round.

2. Someone bristly gets you in an endless bise cycle as implacably relentless as a crocodile's death roll and you have never been so effectively exfoliated.

3. Someone has just tried to convince you that a double shot of Calvados is an appropriate palate cleanser.

4. Yes, even for children. Especially for children. And babies.

5. You have been sitting in the same place for five hours without moving. The elderly relative next to you may have died. If not, they may be expressing a wish for their own death. You deal with this - quite effectively - by offering them a double shot of Calvados.

6. Variously, over several hours, people have told you that the following foods are "vegetarian": ham, chicken, salmon, lardons, mince.

7. You have now accepted that rice is a vegetable. Possibly also salmon. Hell, ham too. Why not.

8. You have been talking to an animated older gentleman for twenty minutes without understanding a word except something something something "walnuts" something something something "vengeance".

9. When you innocently ask someone else about the walnuts, a chill falls over the room.

10. All the cold food comes in aspic.

11. All the hot food comes in cream.

12. Did you arrive with some children? You might have done, you can't remember. You lost sight of them hours ago. They have had time to reach puberty by now and are probably smoking and drinking calva in a field.

13. Speaking of which, it is time for more Calvados.

14.  The whole thing starts again 4 hours later.


Tamara Protassow said...

I think us Russians have a fair amount in common with the Northern French... cheek kissing rounds that change in number of kisses required, endless number of courses in meals...aspic! Cream! "But meat! It's vegetarian meat!" ...Welcome, you are one with my people.

Anna Maria said...

Same with Poles:-), aspic, fish-is-vegetable, endless vodka shots...I'd also add pickles - if a Polish woman gets her hands on any vegetable (or wild mushrooms), it must be pickled, it is The Law.

Waffle said...


I would like to see comparisons of other celebratory meals across the world now. In my family we eat in 40 seconds flat then shuffle off to read/watch telly. And at least one person is always sick enough to be confined to bed for any celebratory occasion.

ganching said...

In Northern Ireland a celebratory meal must by law include turkey and ham and the absence of alcohol is more than made up for by the quantity of tea you will be offered to drink along with your main course. Your portion of dessert will be twice the size of the main and it will be apple tart and/or pavlova. The ratio of meringue to fruit in the pavlova will be 99:1. Both will be served with huge amounts of whipped cream. If it is a little downmarket the cream will come out of a can. You will finish the meal with another cup of tea,

Anonymous said...

Please put a 'donate' button under your posts. This is too good to just be freeee!?!? I want to buy you a drink/cake. Calvados or not.

Flora Fauna Dinner said...

See, this just sounds like heaven to me.

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