Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In the midst of adding the finishing touches to my forthcoming post concerning elves and Electronic Arts executives and how much I wish they'd all get fucked, fuck eachother, then finally fuck off and die, I have decided to respond to a very particular request from a reader, a boy named Julian Oliver.

Julian writes:

i'd be keen to see what where you are looks like

Indeed. Well now then Julian, let us see if we cannot find some things in our picture box that will sate your curiosity.

First, a bit of background.

I live in France. France is a land of contrast, with a population of a great deal of people. It is divided into two places: Paris and la province (no not Provence you cretins, that's different.) Province is the whole of France except for the Paris region, and Paris is Paris:

Each year, thousands upon thousands of Da Vince Code tourists flock to Paris to see the wonders of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame Cathedral - whilst nervously crossing their legs and turning purple because public toilets have been outlawed in France since 1968.

(Wasn't there a book published recently called French Women Don't Eat? Well I tell you what, French women don't seem to piss either, while the men think nothing of doing it in the street in front of one. The scatalogical rights of Parisian dogs are valued more highly than those of mere people.)

I, however, don't live in Paris - I live in the other bit:

Why live in la province, I hear you ask? Well let's see. The main reason perhaps is that it boasts a natural geographical advantage that can be only truly appreciated by those who've lived in France:
it's not Paris.

It's not Paris - hurrah! It's not Paris!!! "We'll always have Paris", did a bitter ex-lover once remark? Well you can keep your fucking Paris, is all I can say.

There, so now you know a little bit about the place where I live.

Now let us consider that which makes this country great: the people of France, and more importantly, what they eat.

I'm very sorry to have to rub it in, but here we have the best food in the world and yah-boo-sucks to the rest of you so there.
France is of course famous for its champagne, camembert cheese, ponies that are eaten once children have tired of them (I've mentioned this before, if you'll recall), foie gras and edible miniature train sets. But it is also the quality of the food that makes French cuisine truly a cut and thrust above the rest. Rivalling northern Italy's "slow food" movement, the French prepare their toothsome products in an "artisanal" manner. Not only does this mean you get served at the bakery quicker than your Italian counterparts, you know that your marzipan pastry pig has been prepared in the traditional French way, often even authorised by the French ministry of culture with an appellation controlée. (Reader(s) of my myspace blog may remember that I once accused French people of being appellation controlée arsed cretins. I retrospectively apologise for this hasty and ill-judged remark).

What does artisanal mean, you may wonder? I'm glad you asked. An artisanal product is one that has been pedantically crafted in a sheltered workshop staffed by inbred rural folk known as paysans. Etymologically speaking, the word artisanal comes from the greek "artii" (a derogoratory term once used to describe pretentious handicrafts hobbyists who think they're special) and "anal" from the latin (analus retentivus - a recticular spasmoidal condition resulting in close attention to detail).

For example an "artisan" French bakery makes its bread in the traditional way, using traditional low-gluten flour and natural leavens if one is lucky. Similarly, an "artisan " laundromat takes one's laundry out to a river and beats it repeatedly against a rock.

I regret that I don't have enough time in which to pursue this topic further, but I do hope this goes some way towards answering your question, Julian. Alas, duty, and the fuckwitted comments of Electronic Arts CEOs, calls (as indeed does nature, if one is unlucky enough to be caught out in the street in a French city without directions to the nearest McDonald's).


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