Last night’s entry was cut short by the fact that my fake diabolo menthe was tainted by alcohol. And the moules marinière was incredulously filling. I’d never had it before. My limited and increasing French vocabulaire told me that I’d be eating muscles for my entrée, or hors d’œuvres. What I didn’t know, or failed to realise, is that I was going to be served up about a hundred and fifty of these little blighters. Along with bread. And chips. Luckily, the carre agneau wasn’t such a hefty portion. Regardless of size, the lamb in herb de Provence was cooked exquisitely. And served beautifully. Along with bread. And chips. I didn’t stick around for dessert as it was already getting late, and my body clock told me I shouldn’t eat anything else past eleven at night. Unless it’s the biscuits that were waiting for me in my hotel room.
I know at this point, I should reflect on the taste of the food, how it made me feel. I should also comment upon the sights and sounds of the Quartier Latin where I ate. All of this would make for good reading, I do understand that. And not just because of my scholarly activities. However, these entries are more about my own observations and less of the freelance good food and restaurant guide. More about an Englishman in Paris and less about a student overwhelmed by his senses. Which is why I’m now sat in a hippy breakfast bar in Marais in the 4eme arrondissement, writing about my own observations and less of the freelance good food and restaurant guide. When I develop these ideas more, possibly later entries, I’ll utilise the photos and memories that I have captured and write with less current emotional attachment and more retrospective emotional attachment. The same truth but with a different slant.
In general, I have found that when I enter eating establishments in Paris, there are two routes that are available. The first route is the unexpected. The generic flow of action is the following. Because of Covid, I don my face mask and prepare the Tous AntiCovid app on my phone. This is already preloaded with my NHS double jab QR codes. I then sit down after being shown to my table. Once I’ve been jabbed in the hand with a menu, I am left to work out what I desire, utilising a mixture of technology, historical knowledge and etymology. I do my best to order in French which works well. Until I’m asked a question relating to my request. I attempt to capture any half-recognisable words and work out the context of the question. Sometimes I answer in French. Other times, English. Occasionally, I’ll simply mutter in shy schoolboy noises and hope they understand better than I did. I always order in the language of the menu as I feel it is respectful and creates a nice ambience to the situation. For me, the sensation of soaking up the cosmopolitan culture of life is an essential part of my self-development. We’re all here together so why not appreciate our differences and make the effort? I am from a very privileged background whereby my mother tongue is English. This is pretty much accepted and understood globally. I don’t take this for granted, by any stretch. I am grateful, though. I suspect that parts of this paragraph, upon my raise to fame and authoritative status amongst the writing masses in years to come, will be used somewhat out of context. Like Hemingway’s words. So, please remember to quote fully and use the correct in-text citations!