Hayjax is in Nottingham

This is what happens when you drop a Canadian into the East Midlands.

Archive for February 2010

Marmite cheese is wrong

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Written by Hayden

February 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Posted in All posts, Food

Hayjax went to France

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I’m back from France and my pants are tight.  The wine, the cheese, the pastry!  Everything in France tastes like it’s been basted in concentrated Essence of Fabulous and then smothered to death with a pillow made of butter.   There is a thing called a Paris Brest au Pistache which basically you need to try before you die.  It’s like a donut made of helium-light chou pastry and stuffed with matcha-green pistachio cream.  Tim Horton’s is but a distant, sordid memory for me now.

Those of you in Vancouver will be gratified to know that the customs official looked at my British passport, saw that I was born in Vancouver and said, “Vancouver.  Where they have the Winter Olympics, yes?” and then smiled.  That’s right, you cracked a French customs official wide open and let the human out.  It was beautiful.

You can all stop envying those chic, slim Parisian women. Dip your copy of “French Women Don’t Get Fat” in batter and eat it, because they’re all just about as muffin-topped and sloppy as us North Americans now, mooching around in their polar fleece and jeans.

They eat like us, but they don’t bank like us.  Buzz yourself in through the triple locked door, past the phalanx of security cameras ,and ask the clerk if you can buy some francs.  She will bridle as though you have asked something indecent and tell you, while surreptitiously mauling the under-counter emergency button, that they have no money.  “We are a bank,” she will explain nervously.  “We ‘ave no monnaie ‘ere.”  To get money, see, you have to go to the post office.  Makes sense.

I wanted to ask for stamps at the post office, just to watch them look aghast and explain that they were a post office and therefore had no stamps, and that I would have to go to the ironmonger’s for that sort of thing, but I decided it would cut into valuable Paris Brest au Pistache-eating time.

As well as being fat, French people also confounded my expectations by picking up their dogshit.  As proof, here is a little doodie-bag kiosk I saw in La Ferte Vidame:

What I like best is the unmistakable hauteur of these cartoon dogs.  They are saying, “Peek up my sheet, you sad ‘uman!  Peek eet up!”  It’s like the French, in becoming more like North Americans, have entrusted all their chauvinistic snobbery to their dogs.

I also saw a very bizarre enclosure in a park in Chateaudun that I can only describe as a poo zoo.  It was a little tiny fenced-in compound with a little tiny gate where your dog marches in to do its natural dog business and then marches out again, with no scooping involved.  This creates a rather revolting fecal ghetto where droppings of all shapes and sizes lurk behind the bars waiting to be let out for good behavior.

I went to a farmer’s market in the tiny town of Brou and bought some kind of cheese that I forget the name of, but it’s wrapped in cedar bark and the cheesemonger told us to pour wine on it and bake it in the oven and then smear it all over plain boiled potatoes and we did and it was so good it made me want to light a Gauloise and ask the scraped-bare cheese rind, “Was it good for you, too?”

There was another kiosk at the farmer’s market that sold nothing but garish accordion CDs:

Love of the accordion is apparently another nutty French foible, like their love of Jerry Lewis.

I flew home on BMI Baby, a comically rickety and casual airline where the flight attendants all wore messy, just-woke-up buns and grubby polar fleece and went up and down the aisles like street vendors, hawking chicken tikka masala and scratch-and-win raffle tickets.

Written by Hayden

February 26, 2010 at 10:53 pm

Posted in All posts