Sunday, December 11, 2016
A lyric from a song that doesn’t apply here. Except that it is Sunday morning, and it’s an easy one because there’s no To-Do List.
Except food shopping. Because it’s France and tomorrow’s Monday and that means shops are closed to offer shopkeepers a delayed week-end.
My plan, such as it was, was to head out early, to beat the lines. But when I wake up and open the shutters, it’s seriously raining.
So I switch plans, such as it is, and make myself a leisurely cup of tea and read a bit... but not in the garden. Around 10, the rain stops although the sky is still resolutely clouded over. I put on a jacket, grab my shopping bag, my camera and my coin purse and I’m off downhill to the Purveyors of Good Things to Eat and Drink.
My needs are few: boudin from the Auvergne lady, chicken from Jacky Gaudin’s butcher shop, a bottle of Chinon from Manu’s Caves des Abbesses and a red bell pepper from Au Verger des Abbesses. In fact I don’t even need to make a list.
First is the Auvergne shop. I’ve been meaning to buy some of her blood sausage since last week-end, but then Life Happened, as John Lennon would say. I end up buying not only the boudin, but also a slice of pâté aux morilles (those are morels, which I love), a tiny one-portion raw goat’s milk cheese from Rocamadour, and a box of those luscious, thin, crisp butter cookies from Salers that are called pavés (paving stones). So now I have a full four-course meal.
As I leave the butcher shop, I hear a drum roll. It’s a sound I’ve known for ages: the P’tits Poulbots de Montmartre.
(An aside here: In the early 1900's, Montmartre was a slum, with poor health conditions, lots of orphans, and many artists. One of the artists started sketching the orphans. His name was Francisque Poulbot and he became rich and famous for those sketches of les enfants de la rue, the children of the streets. In return, he opened a dispensary for them right down on Rue Lepic. The drum corps came later, as a free activity for kids too poor to afford extra-curricular activities or go on holiday. And it’s still going strong.)
A quick stop into the wine shop for a bottle of chinon, and then across the street to the green grocer, dodging the jogging stragglers (or straggling joggers). There, my “one bell pepper” resolution goes to pieces and I end up with two (one red and one orange for a Basque chicken dish tomorrow), plus some neatly manicured green beans and a serving or two of those delectably sweet, tiny early potatoes from the island of Noirmoutier. I get handed a free bouquet of parsley as well, complete with a big smile. When I ask Fathi why he’s not out there running in the race, he replies that he only runs after women.
And then a nap. The museum will have to wait until tomorrow.