Prev: McDonald's conquest of France is now complete:McDonald'sopensat the Louvre
Next: Vietnam Hotel, Vietnam Resort Online.
From: Gregory Morrow on 26 Oct 2009 21:09
> Nope no Halloween in France, they tried but it didn't hold.
You're too CHEAP to give little children candy in any case, scRunge...
> Copy and paste by a boozer who thinks he knows best. just OT wherever
> he goes.
Oh, THANKS you, scRunge...!!!
> "Gregory Morrow" <airfrance_flyer(a)airchance.net> a �crit dans le
> message de news:taCdnWtwxbgzYHnXnZ2dnUVZ_oednZ2d(a)earthlink.com...
>> October 25, 2009
>> Op-Ed Contributor
>> Pumpkin Eaters
>> By PETER MAYLE
>> "Aix-en-Provence, France - THERE is a tendency among the French to
>> welcome certain aspects of American life with immediate and
>> uncritical enthusiasm: hamburgers, Jerry Lewis, baseball caps,
>> elderly television series ("Starsky
>> & Hutch" is still running on French TV), Westerns, Marlboro Lights,
>> button-down shirts - these and much more besides have crossed the
>> Atlantic to become firmly embedded in le lifestyle fran�ais.
>> The Celtic-by-way-of-America celebration of Halloween is one more
>> example that has always stuck in my mind because it arrived in
>> France about the same
>> time that I did, 20 years ago.
>> I remember the moment well. I was passing the window of a shop that
>> specialized in avant-garde underwear when my eye was caught by a
>> small pumpkin, half-concealed behind the lacy thickets of a black
>> brassiere. A hand-lettered sign tucked into the bra read, "N'oubliez
>> pas l'alowine!" - as
>> if one could ever forget Halloween when reminded of it in such an
>> exotic fashion.
>> But there was a problem. In those unenlightened days, hardly anyone
>> in France had the faintest idea of what alowine was. An informal
>> survey among friends produced nothing at first but shrugs and
>> incomprehension. I gave my
>> respondents a clue in the form of a pumpkin. Ah, they said, soup. I
>> tried again, this time with the date, Oct. 31, the eve of All
>> Saints' Day. Of course, they said, Toussaint, but this is not a day
>> of pumpkins. Toussaint is marked here in France by the
>> chrysanthemum. But how would you know that,
>> being English? I retired hurt.
>> The years passed, and alowine scored one or two minor victories. I
>> noticed a
>> modest selection of cards, a sprinkling of pumpkins and the odd
>> witch's hat.
>> But there was nothing to indicate that Halloween was having much of
>> an impact locally until I happened to bump into M. Farigoule in the
>> village cafe. (Here I should explain that M. Farigoule is my mentor -
>> self-appointed - on all matters that have to do with correct
>> behavior for a
>> foreigner living in France, from table manners to income tax. He is
>> an unrepentant chauvinist, a fund of misinformation and a prodigious
>> consumer of ros�. I'm rather fond of him.)
>> It was the first morning of November, and M. Farigoule was seething
>> with indignation. The previous evening, just as he was settling down
>> in front of
>> the television to disagree with the evening news, he had been
>> disturbed by a
>> thunderous clattering on his front door. On his doorstep, he found a
>> gang of
>> sooty-faced infants. One of them, holding up a hollowed-out pumpkin
>> with a guttering candle inside, demanded bonbons. Why should I give
>> you bonbons? asked M. Farigoule. Because it is alowine, was the
>> M. Farigoule looked at me and shrugged, his expression a question
>> mark. It was clear that he was not familiar with Halloween and its
>> customs. At last it was my chance to teach him something. He
>> listened while I described the cast of characters - the witches and
>> hobgoblins, the skeletons and spirits of the dead, the Grim Reaper
>> and his attendant vultures - and he seemed to understand the basic
>> principles of trick-or-treating. It was when I was trying to explain
>> the historical significance and traditional use of the pumpkin that
>> I saw, from his elevated eyebrows and pursed lips, that I had
>> touched a nerve.
>> "Do you mean to tell me," he said, "that pumpkins all over America
>> are massacred, with all that good honest flesh tossed away, simply
>> to provide a
>> primitive decoration?" He took a deep swig of ros� and shook his
>> head. "Do our American friends know what treasures they're missing?
>> Pumpkin fritters!
>> Pumpkin and apple sauce - so delightful with sausages! Then, bien
>> s�r, there
>> is Toulouse-Lautrec's sublime gratin of pumpkin.
>> "And it must be said that Mme. Farigoule" - he raised his glass to
>> the ceiling in a silent salute - "makes, during the season, a most
>> exquisite pumpkin risotto." He shook his head again. "No - to
>> sacrifice a pumpkin for
>> such a frivolous purpose as alowine is a waste, a terrible waste.
>> Whatever next?" He allowed me to refill his glass while he recovered
>> his composure, and our conversation moved on to the less sensitive
>> topic of village politics.
>> Another, more official blow to Halloween's standing in France was the
>> reaction of a local authority, the school attended by my friend's
>> young children. One year, for reasons that continue to elude me, it
>> was decreed that the pupils should celebrate Halloween by coming to
>> school dressed in appropriately spine-chilling outfits: witches, of
>> course, but also bloodstained ghouls, vampires, a variety of evil
>> spirits and even a small, very hot human pumpkin swathed from head
>> to toe in layers of orange toweling.
>> The following year saw a change in the school's management. Alas for
>> Halloween, the new principal was someone with more traditional
>> views, and she was not sympathetic to the idea of fancy dress in the
>> classroom, particularly when inspired by some ridiculous foreign
>> novelty. When asked to
>> explain why she had canceled Halloween, her reply was brief and to
>> the point.
>> "It has nothing to do with us," she said. "We're French."
>> The Pumpkin Risotto of Mme. Farigoule
>> The secret is in the preparation of the pumpkin. After removing
>> seeds and fiber, cut the flesh into chunks, leaving the skin still
>> attached. With your
>> hands, mix the chunks in a bowl with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the best
>> olive oil, salt and pepper, a tablespoon of fresh marjoram and a
>> teaspoon of dried
>> oregano. Lay the chunks on a baking tray, skin side down, and put
>> them in the oven, which you have preheated to 425�F. When the chunks
>> of pumpkin are
>> soft and the edges are tinged with brown, remove from the oven and
>> allow to
>> cool, scrape the flesh from the skin and shred with a fork. Prepare
>> your risotto in the usual way and once the rice is ready, stir in
>> the pumpkin, along with freshly grated Parmesan and butter. (Mme.
>> Farigoule's tip is to be extra-generous with both cheese and
>> butter.) Add a sage leaf for decoration, and a sprinkling of
>> Parmesan, et voil�..."
>> Peter Mayle is the author of "A Year in Provence" and the forthcoming
>> "The Vintage Caper."