Friday 19 May 2023

C'est fou le nombre des gens tu as besoin pour faire quelque chose tout seul

This is a blog and in the early 2000s when people used to have blogs these people would blog about their feelings and people who didn’t have blogs would laugh at people with blogs and if a blogger said irl they feel sad the non blogger would say something like ‘why don’t you write a blog post about it’ and they would mean this facetiously because they would not intend to read such a post because they don’t believe one should air their sadness out on the internet. Or maybe they would read it and that’s worse. 

In a similar vein I’ve often wondered why, when you watch the news, the news is always bad? When they tell us about how someone we don’t know very far away lost their child or cat or house to a fire it’s because someone at the news decided that THIS would be what they tell us and because they are the news this becomes news.

As someone who started her blog in whatever you call the 2015s other than ‘late’ I too concentrate on the bad because I write about how I feel which is not to say always bad, though often enough, nor that good things don’t happen too, they do!, they’re just less easy to dramatise or in other words, less newsworthy. But today I thought I would try to write about how I feel (grateful) about something true that is good in order to balance out the overwhelming feeling (sad) that I can’t do this alone which is not even entirely true because I’m not really alone-alone, even if I'm writing that I feel I am, because as you may already know and will now read, there are so many good people who are good to me and who help me.

I’ve written before that no one makes wine alone and maybe I’ve talked about the note stuck to the wall of the toilet at rue des belles caves that says in French It’s crazy the number of people you need to do something on your own and while I’ve never been one for reading material in bathrooms I know few truer words. Next thing to say is that when I learned someone I knew was having a baby alone I thought isn’t it a bit selfish to take on something like this on your own when you know the people around you will take it on themselves to help and then I realised what I’m doing is exactly the same. My wines have my name on them but the truth is no label in the world would fit the names of everyone who has actually made them — and you thought abracadabra was long enough. 

And by ‘made them’ I mean the people who had their hands and feet and back in them literally and painfully and enthusiastically even though they were as tired as me but also those who have supported me mentally, generally, in person and over voice messaging and when I call and say I'm sad and also those who have gifted me things from olive oil candles sardines posters coriander silk scarfs wineglasses to stroopwaffel and Dutch cheese and bien sûr things to drink and cooked for me and paid for hotels and meals and bottles I could never dream of affording and who have taken days off and booked holiday time out and given me encouragement and time time time and carried things with me and carried things for me and move my shit from cellar to cellar to cellar with me and actually found me a cellar in my time of need and another who helped me build one and those who came from far and from off the internet just to help me and lent me spare tanks their tireuse their gas tank their chambre air (someone at a fair in Montpellier this year literally gave me the shirt off his back) gifted me a fucking pressoir and — recently — brought me wood and built me a table because I didn’t have one, just because they’re good. 

So you see, it’s not all bad.

Photo, P.S., is not current! This was me in harvest nineteen.

P.P.S thank you. I hope you can all find you in here.

(Still would like a partner though.)


Monday 8 May 2023

And we ate the zoo

To name some epic dinners I haven’t been to: Jesus’s last supper, the banquet where Cleopatra drank her pearl, when they ate the zoo and the last vendredi soir at le Saint Eutrope — which technically I have been to, but not to the one in the wilds of my imagination where it’s me who gets to choose the menu. 

Luckily I couldn’t. Luckily no one could. Luckily the impossible task of limiting an unlimited number of best of-s was left to the only people I would trust blind to be able to. What follows is therefore a fantasy menu cherry-picked from reality, my memory and my phone’s memory, no small amount of GB has been taken up preserving what is now history! The ancient Egyptians had their marble-carved hieroglyphics, we have chalk-scrawled blackboards that go:


Vendredi soir

To start, after the gen-to for apéro:

Dipping radishes because otherwise it would be dipping fingers in the anchovy butter. 

Also with:

Vitello tonato i.e. sandwich filler q: who invented veal via a spoon?

Followed by:

A citrus mosh-pit, or Punterella, agrumes, stracciatella on a plate to match. 

(Keep the spoon.)

Followed by:

Bao, Chinese for goose-down pillows stuffed with crisp-fried belly fat and slivers of face mask cucumber and always one bao too small, better would be at least two.

Followed by:

Pizza fritta. M O R E and A L W A Y S and WHY NOT ALWAYS and one to go to ease in to the hangover the morning after.

Accompanied by:

Any of the non-fried variations that go by the name of fougasse. Yes we’re accompanying fried dough with non fried dough, add extra pied mutton if it makes you feel better. 

Followed by: 

A boubaisse-y base of fish pierced by lemon in which swims hand rolled black pasta. 

Followed by: 

Tripes. The Sichuan ones. You are our source of coriander in Auvergne. 

For mains:

Anything cooked 7+ hours for 2+ to share in a pot with a knife stuck in it — but with chips beef fat-fried, please.


Dessert! I’ll have two. The baby fist mushroom bun soaked in as many measures as you like of your choice of rum, and the bavarois which, as a suspected dyslexic, was for YEARS a mystery to me until this January when someone ordered it and I realised I've lived 34 years never having been intimate with an upside down puddle of barely solid cream.


Le Saint Eutrope was the local for everyone, from near, from far, from Paris. As much for those of us who live ‘close’ in Auvergne for whom everything is far as for those passing through from the other side of the world. Good things come to an end, so I've heard! Tomato season, the last luggage-squished slice of leftover birthday cake, my tolerance for early mornings which re-sets to zero with the end of the vendange. But still, there aren’t many places for which I’d drive 200km round trip for lunch and not infrequently stay for dinner when I do. Time for me, I suppose, to drive less and put my eggs in different baskets. Time for you to open something new — soon! But change nothing. Or maybe serve more bao. Maybe fry it? Serve chips and ice cream with it? Ok ok, time to move. Cheque please. And my pizza fritta to go.

Thank you!! 

In 2019 I wrote about le Saint Eutrope and it started like this and if you're feeling nostalgic the rest you can read yourself:

"Some kids get the itch to become astronauts but when I’m grown up I want to be Harry Lester." 

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