Monday, September 20, 2010


We had a refrigerator, but it was usually crammed full with live crayfish, slithering eels and blocks of butter.

One of the menu items was roast chicken. We would roast enough chicken to satisfy the service. Since a chicken takes about an hour to roast, it’s smart to cook them a little ahead. Sometimes, however, we had a few chickens or chicken halves left over. Instead of refrigerating them, we would set them on the table that I stepped on to get the trout. We would line them up by age: Day 1 (good for customers); Day 2 (good for some customers); Day 3 (good for us but not for customers).

This system worked well until we went through a hot spell and the highs were in the 80s (hot for that part of France.) When it was hot, we wouldn’t bother to reheat the chocolate but we would eat it cold with some lettuce and a nice vinaigrette.

At some point during the summer, I was eating some Day 3 chicken. Funny thing is, the pieces of meat started moving around in the mouth. I spit it out, took a look at the chicken, and threw it out.

The chef, amused, gave me a second pastis. That helped.

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