Serfs and Poulet en Croûte

It’s all William The Conqueror’s fault. Actually, he wasn’t called that during his lifetime – he was known as William The Bastard, because, er, well, he was one both metaphorically and literally, since his father had had a brief but exciting fling with a beautiful tanner’s daughter out of wedlock. Why this railing against the French? It’s because the entire British class system developed as a result of him and his fancy French ways, making us all drink appalling vin rouge instead of decent warm beer at mealtimes. We became serfs, tilling his fields and raising his cattle for him. The Anglo-Saxon words for farm animals as used by those who raised them are ‘pig, cow, calf” but when dressed up in fancy sauces and served for dinner to our betters they become the French ‘pork, beef ‘ and ‘veal’. or their tarty French equivalents. You get the idea.
All of this arose because Gipsy is working. By this, I mean that she flies around like a dervish on speed, mixing, braising, adding a soupçon of this and tasting a morsel of that. I on the other hand stand, flat-footed and watch, occasionally moving the straw from one side of my mouth to the other. This evening was a prime example. In the midst of prepping for tomorrow’s adventures in the rarefied atmosphere of haute cuisine, there was the small matter of dinner. Having had Moroccan (not Jewish – the Sicilian lemons variant, for those who know) Chicken Tajini for lunch, there were leftovers which transformed themselves into a little number en croûte  (I never actually saw any pastry being made, but I did blink once or twice) with wild mushrooms and olives, together with a warm goat cheese salad. I interrupted. Once. “No mayonnaise?” I enquired, politely. “Give me an egg” came the response. She broke the egg into the bowl of an electric beater with large, slow-moving blades. She then slowly poured oil – sunflower – since we didn’t want too powerful a flavour and watched as it curdled perfectly, adding a little extra virgin olive oil, some wholegrain mustard and a few other unspecified items that just happened to be to hand. She stopped the machine, poured the perfectly formed mixture into a bowl with a deft sweep of a spoon. “Voilà”. The entire operation took less time than it takes my computer to boot up. I meekly put the bowl on the table, and ate my dinner which, I do have to say, was a quite significant improvement on the chicken and mushroom pies I used to buy as a child from the local fish and chip shop. Afterwards, I remembered my place and cleared up, obediently putting things back where I had been told and not muddling the Laguiole knives up with the cheap ones. I was rewarded with ristretto ansd a smile. I suppose I ought to think myself lucky. William the Conqueror chopped his serfs’ hands and feet off.

2 thoughts on “Serfs and Poulet en Croûte

  1. The greatness of a holiday can be measured by the vastness of the dilemma occasioned by the need to move the straw from one side of the mouth to the other and the speed of delivery, by others, of your every need. Envious of your great holiday! Alan


  2. You plan to make we, your loyal friends, envious. Shame on you. I hope Gipsy makes serfdom commensurate with the quality of the gastronomic delights she feeds you. This would only be fair.



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