Along for the ride:

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The well prepared date.

A friend of ours is a French Chef, (or a French friend of ours is a Chef). He teaches at The Culinary Academy and has a catering business as well as opening a "by reservation only" Friday evening dining event with a fixed menu that is changed every week.
Quenelles were on last night's menu; one of Hubby's favorite things. Delicate, melt-in-the-mouth, souffle textured dumplings made with fresh water pike and flown in from Lyon to be served with the traditional vol-au-vents, button mushrooms, green olives and veal sweetbreads in a light tomato sauce. Something we don't prepare ourselves and an excuse to go out with friends.
Our friend Chantal has been divorced for a while now and introduced us to her date Bob. The four of us sat at a large round table with Chantal and I being bilingual and one French-only and the other English-only speaker divided between us. I soon realized that Bob was not perturbed in any way and had, in fact, prepared in advance for this soiree.
Bob had researched the Chef and knew of his reviews and accolades; he had studied the origin and history of the food we were to eat and he had come armed with a joke; printed out in French which he fearlessly read to us and made us laugh: A French vagabond knocks on the door of a farmhouse to ask for a drink. The farmer's wife says " Of course, Monsieur. It is a hot day. Wait here while I fetch you a jug of water"
"Madame!" says the tramp. "I said I was thirsty, not that I wished to bathe."


  1. Ummmm.....

    La femme du fermier dit: «Bien sûr, monsieur. C'est une journée chaude. Attendez là pendant que je te chercher une cruche d'eau"
    "Madame!" dit le clochard. "J'ai dit que j'avais soif, pas que je voulais me baigner."

    Or did he use broc or pichet or carafe for 'jug'? Certainly not baignoire or baquet... so, I don't 'get' the joke.
    Help me out here, ER.

  2. Bob sounds like a very interesting, enthusiastic dinner companion to go with the fine food.

    Say hi to Dana from me next time!

  3. Kitty, Bathe doesn't necessarily mean "to immerse in water" as "To make one's toilette" does not always include flushing. Is that what you are asking? The real point being that he wanted wine, not water. (p.s. remember this was read from a folded piece of paper, in French, to strangers, by a man who spoke not a word of the language. He did an amazing job.)

    Pliers, Bob seemed pretty unique to me. I can just imagine him preparing to go to a meeting. Man and communicator are not always found in the same sentence, are they?

  4. Kitty, does it help if I switch out bathe for wash?

  5. Oh, it makes perfect sense to me NOW, at 9.30 am... but when I read it six hours ago in the wee hours, it made no sense whatsoever. D'uh, Kitty. The guy was French and was asking for a drink, of course he'd be asking for 'un petit verre de vin' and not water.

    Tsk. Just shows I shouldn't reply to Blogs when insomniac. Or when frazzled to an inch of my life. Sorry for the Black Hole denseness, (and sorry Bob, it is a funny joke!)

    Anyway, Bob (what a delightful date for Chantal!) does sound both lovely and unique and one of the bravest men I've heard of in quite awhile. And the dinner must have been delish, even though quenelles are one of the things I frankly dread to see placed before me, since they are so often done poorly, even here in Quenelle-Land. But when done properly they are lush, true.

    You have some of the most engaging dinner soirées, you do!

  6. Uncanny... last night we attended a dinner party where we dined on the finest chicken and fish quenelles. I made a beeline for the salmon quenelles draped in wilted spinach.

    "c'est vraiment magnifique"

  7. Et maintenant, j'ai faim! Never tried quenelles but they sound delicious. And Bob is a revealation, isn't he? Where did she find him?

  8. Bob was found online at I didn't mention that he has an eight month old Cavalier King Charles puppy named Honey, as well. I thought it would be laying it on too thick.

    Kitty, I sort of guessed you were visualizing a literal translation of bathing there. No matter. We got to chat which is always nice.

    Pliers, Dana's Chef has still not had the courage to marry her, despite much talk.

    Jimmy, Your quenelles sound superior to ours. I was counting on freshly made but they were frozen and air-shipped. The result is O.K. for California but it was a compromise. I'm not willing to go to the trouble myself so I will shut up. Some of the best food I ever had was in Scotland. Beef and oyster pie. Yumm!

    Deborah and Argent, Bob's secret is that he has a business putting the right people together. I am sure he prepares for every meeting. It is a very useful skill set. I have other friends of marketing ilk who always ask the names of other guests before coming to a party. I'm sure they are doing the same thing. I live among social over-achievers. (but in a good way:)

  9. Hey, I'm not French, and I got the joke!! Not bad if he told it well in the original language. That was a supreme effort on his part. How nice to meet someone who cares enough about the company to do all that research and preparation so he can feel comfortable and....even better....make everyone else feel comfortable!

    Your writing about food (again) had made me hungry.

  10. Interesting group and sounds like it went well. The reservation only dinner must have been superb.
    Sounds like a nice man to get interested in the restaurant and the chef and the language to be a part of the evening.

  11. Jean, food is never far from our thoughts. Hubby gets insecure if there is no menu plan for the next meal. Sigh!

    TechnoBabe, I thought he was a keeper.

  12. I've never had quenelles.. but.. yum....

  13. Quenelles are like the lightest and fluffiest of matzo balls, the way I was taught to make them by my dear Jewish neighbour who took me under her wing and exposed me to the joys of home-rendered schmaltz, chopped liver, Challah and home corned beef brisket.

    If you'd never had a light, fluffy matzo ball, but just think 'Stone Soup', well, like quenelles, they are light, almost mousse-like in texture and worth searching out sometime.

    Just... never eat quenelles when they've come from a tin. Not the same thing at all, barely a resemblance. It would be akin to saying canned tamales are just like fresh ones. Or frozen, breaded fish and microwave french fries is exactly like what you get down th' chippy.

  14. mmmm, mmmm, can always go for some good quenelles, one of my favorite dishes here, if they are good they can be excellent. Unfortunately, sometimes they are not done well, are are waterlogged dense and heavy affairs that digest about as well as much play-dough might. And anybody with a CKC puppy can't be all bad...

  15. Watercats, quenelles can be special.

    Kitty, I had no idea they could be found in a can!

    Owen, nice to see you back.