Artnotes Italy Daily

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Market Man   Laurie FOX Pessemier   Acrylic on wood  6 x 10 inches 

ARTNOTES:  An Eye to the Future

"The future you see is the future you get." Robert G. Allen

I ate the most delicious fish of my life on Monday night.  I hadn’t really thought about the Saint Pierre, that fish from French waters, for years – I used to have a recipe for it.  The St. Pierre is a flat, upright fish with spiny fins and a thumb and fingerprint on each side where St. Peter picked him out of the water to remove the gold piece from his mouth.  

Generous friends took us to the Dome, where we had the fish.  They were seeking sole, themselves, and the Dome reputedly has the best.   My meal was so good, I wanted to cook a Saint Pierre myself, and set out for the market on Tuesday to buy one.   When my fish monger told me he had none, a woman customer sniffed, “it’s too expensive”.  I examined my dress, and was looking a little down-at-the-heel.     Oh, well, I went on to the butcher and bought a wild hare, which I soaked overnight in red wine and spices.  

On Wednesday, friends took us out to a “les Halles” restaurant which served hearty French fare.  I had sheep’s brains, which were cooked “meuniere” – they were lightly breaded and fried producing a crunchy outside and  a remarkably light center.   I endeavor to eat differently than at home, whenever we go out, so I can expand my menu repertoire.  There was a table of Chinese people next to us, who ordered what looked like everything on the menu.  They were drinking red wine, so when it was our turn to order the wine, we said, “we’ll have what they are having.”  “Are you sure?” the waiter asked, “it’s 120 euros a bottle.”   They had four or five bottles while we were there.   Upon closer inspection it was a 1979 Bordeaux.  We opted for a respectable ’09.

I cooked my rabbit (he had the biggest legs!) for about 4 hours, with onions, cepe mushrooms, and carrots,  and invited over some French friends.   I needed to practice my French.  We’ve had a back-to-back English-speaking visitors since the 6 September when we returned from vacation.   I’ve alternated between feeling delighted, overwhelmed, tired, but it is clear to me Americans are at their best here in Paris.   We live in the one place that brings out creative thinking and joy in everyone.  It especially works well for artists, musicians and writers, but that’s for another artnotes.

I couldn’t be happier here, I don’t think.  We visited with Voyeu, the dog’s, mistress in the park Friday morning.  A bright sunny day and we are talking about food; more specifically, about blood, and how and when one introduces it to a recipe.  Can you imagine such conversation?  I took it a step further to the butcher .  "Yes," he said, "I remember when my grandfather would slaughter the pig, then removed his eye to capture the blood.  It’s really wonderful in a coq au vin.  You must put a little vinegar in with the blood to keep it liquid."  Both Mme. Voyeu and Christian, the butcher, made reference to pig blood. " I’ll bring you some," Christian offers.   "Oh, no," I protest, but sort of hope he has some on Tuesday.

When I walked by the fish stand on Friday, there were three Saint Pierres chilling on ice.  I chose the one with the clearest eye.

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