Monday, March 22, 2010
There, the canny oyster lady had cooked up some mussels in aïoli, and they were so delicious, sweet and tender that we had to have some, and some oysters too. I asked the oyster lady if she could open the oysters, not wishing, myself, to gouge out part of my hand and spend the rest of the day in the emergency department. She said she would, but she also said she wasn't born knowing how. Of course not, practice makes perfect, but everyone has a skill and that one is hers. I have other skills that she doesn't but I don't go around making snippy remarks to that effect. What is it about the French that they have to remind you how crap you are at something?
We finished up at the greengrocer who is locally known as 'le voleur' for the ridiculous prices he charges. Having seen a little sign for Garriguette strawberries, we thought they would do nicely. While we were there, we got a pineapple too. One punnet of strawberries and a pineapple. Guess how much they cost. Over €5 or under? How about over €10 or under? In fact they cost €12, the most expensive pineapple in the world setting us back a whopping €7. Le voleur lived up to his name yet again!
My mother was looking forward to long lazy French lunch so that is what we had, with champagne and wine to wash it all down. The veal was nice, but was it THAT nice? I'm not sure. My TWDB said that his mother travels 50km to buy her joints when she gets a call that the farmer is sending the calves to slaughter. His meat is so fine that she's prepared to make the effort. I wouldn't drive 50km to buy the joint we had yesterday and I wouldn't even know where to begin to find a supplier that good. Not that I have the means to indulge such foodie whims anyway.
I roasted it, as suggested by the butcher, for an hour, going into a cold oven set at 190°C, with roast potatoes and a medley of roasted root veg - parsnips, turnips, carrots. My youngest did a great job peeling and chopping. He insisted on having no help, and wielded the sharp knife like a pro. My mother and I were most impressed. Not having to prepare everything helped it taste that much nicer for me. Have you noticed that food you don't prepare tastes better than that which you've slaved over for hours? The greatest gift you can give a woman who cooks is a meal not cooked by herself.
Which is what I gave my mother yesterday.