Saturday, May 30, 2009

The "Chef" Refuses!

It should come as no surprise that the French take their food very seriously. They take dining very seriously too. There's no "herd 'em in and get 'em out" attitude here. If you go out for dinner, you are treated as a guest to the point where it is still considered rude to bring l'addition - the bill - without it being specifically asked for. Want to sit at the table all night long? No one will bat an eyelash at you. Want Fido to sit in your lap while you eat? Bring him or her along! (Can you see Fido in the snap above?)

If you don't like something or it isn't cooked to your expectations, you simply send it back. The other night I ordered the "croque madame" because I just had to try one. Remember my previous post on this topic? Well, it appeared without the egg and, as we all know now, a croque madame is not a madame if there's no egg. I mumbled something about the egg and the waiter whisked the dish from the table - my objections only heard by his shadow - to have the egg added. A few moments later it appeared, with a smile from the waiter, and an egg. Yes, it was good.

Of course, the tradition cuts both ways. We were in a sandwich shop and Carol ordered a sandwich on a baguette. The young waiter who took our order came back and sheepishly informed us a little later that "the chef refuses" to make that sandwich on a baguette - a baguette may only be used if the sandwich is "take away" (aka to go), he explained. Imagine, a sandwich chef? Well, if it had been Los Angeles, it would have been the sandwich artiste who refused. In either case, we shut up and ate our chef-inspired sandwiches. Yes, they were good. (And, by the way, when is a sandwich maker a "chef"? Answer is: only in Paris!)

Today we said good-bye and à bientôt to our great friends Carol and Charlie from Washington, D.C. We'll miss you guys!

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