Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Les Cochon Chiens Anglais

I'm turning Quebecois, I think I'm turning Quebecois, I really think so.

It might appear that I'm typing gibberish, but it you were alive during the month of March 1980, then you may have heard the one hot wonder band, The Vapors, singing their only song that 'made it'. The song was called 'Turning Japanese', and I have no idea why they wrote it or what it was about, but it sure was a catchy little piece of writing.

The Vapors vaporized rather quickly, burning up after fourteen of their fifteen minutes of fame had expired. They've easily used up their one minute of remaining fame being a staple in specials about one hit wonder bands. I may have heard them on Casey Kasem's American Top 40 while driving through the radio blighted mid-West.

I've never felt like I'm turning Japanese but yesterday I felt like I was turning Quebecois. I was sitting in the sixth greatest boulangerie (café) in the province of Quebec as ranked by a croissant hound who writes for Le Devoir. I was soaking up the butter infused air directly through my pores. My ears enjoyed the sounds of untold conversations bouncing off the inner walls of this quaint little bakery/café. Everyone spoke French, and I was loving it.

Through the generous windows that faced the sweeping hues of the brilliantly blue Baie de Plaisance, I could see a bike gang enter the parking lot. My greatest fears were realized when they entered the art adorned café and took over the place. They were dressed in fearful biking know what I mean: cheek hugging spandex shorts, Skittle coloured jerseys, and duck-billed helmets rising a full storey above their sweaty heads. To make matters worse, they spoke English and they spoke it loudly. My croissant went limp.

Collectively they had wrestled the mood into a submission hold. I wanted to shoo them out, like one might do to a big and meaty house fly, but my little voice kept saying 'soyez patience, Jean Ian, soyez patience'. I desperately wanted to return to the joie de vivre in which I had been sautéing prior to their arrival. I couldn't wait for the English (speaking) pig dogs to depart.

Clearly, I was turning Quebecois. I really think so. The funny thing is that I speak gawdawful French, but I try. I understand little or nothing that is spoken to me, often just nodding and saying 'oui'. Here's a typical conversation that I might have in Iles de la Madeleine, translated into English for my pig-dog readers:

Moi: "I would like a croissant, please."

Them: "Would you like almond or plain?"

Moi: "Yes."

Them: "Okay...would you like a beverage with that?"

Moi: "Do you have any butter?"

Them: "Would you like butter on your croissant?"

Moi: "No, just water."

Them: "Would you like some poop on your croissant?"

Moi: "Very much so."

Them: "One lump or two?"

Moi: "Beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup."

Yesterday I saw on the boulangerie menu that they had some pain aux noix (pain in the nuts, I believe) with cretons. I didn't know what cretons was, but I ordered it anyway. I found out afterwards that I had just eaten pig's ass with rendered fat, onions and spices. Mmmmm. It actually tasted okay, but I'm sure that I would have hurled had I known what I was eating. Life could get dangerous if I spend more time here.

Next culinary stop....fromage du tête.

I'm leaving the islands this morning, back to the land where I know what part of the pig that I'm eating. Please tell me that back bacon is not something a pig sits on. If it's true, at least deliver the news gently, preferably in French.

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