We’re French and You’re Not

We’re French and You’re Not – Chapter One – Chardonnay Man – Last Part

6 p.m.: We fly over the battlefields of Verdun, where 350,000 of our countrymen died fighting the brutal German invaders. What is this? Jean points out a crowd of German pig-dog tourists. Enraged, we throw bottles, cabbages, and the contents of our chamber pots at them. Ha! Ha! Suddenly, and without warning, our balloon descends. Horrors! I recognize Président Pommefrite and Chancellor Erwtenzup of Germany. They are very filthy and very angry. They shout and shake their fists at us. We also notice French soldiers firing at us. Jean opines that perhaps we should ascend quickly. Stirred to action, I increase the flame. Our balloon fills with hot air and we leave them far below. Jean and I are so upset by the whole incident that we delay dinner by a full hour.

14 November, 10 a.m.: We find ourselves over the town of Amiens. Jean informs me that Jules Verne used to be its mayor. He astounds me with the information that he had been reading Verne lately. So, that’s what he has been doing with his afternoons. I thought he was cheating on his mistress.

Noon: We reach the town of Calais on the English Channel. We commemorate our successful journey across France with a simple meal of French bread, onion soup, salade Niçoise, and shrimp scampi. We examine the looming channel, but are not frightened.

3 p.m.: A great jolt rouses Jean and me from our naps. What has annoyed us? Oh, our basket has smashed to bits the radar of a French destroyer. “Vive la France!” we amiably cheer. But incredibly, the sailors shout angrily back. Jean suggests that we quickly leave those clods. I once again increase the size of the flame and we climb back into the clouds.

The sailors fire their rifles and the ship’s big guns at us. Boom! But they cannot see us as we are hiding in the clouds and have broken their radar dish. We shout our apologies to our countrymen and fellow adventurers. We toss down cases of caviar and our best champagne to make up for our faux pas. However, this noble gesture does not appease them. Strange to say, they are becoming even angrier. The lack of manners in our navy appalls Jean and me.

6 p.m.: We are over Dover, England. Hurrah! The great race is coming to an end. We see a great crowd below us. It cheers us wildly, so ours must be the first balloon. The throng includes the Queen and most of the Royal family. We also notice an enormous number of police and soldiers. No doubt, they are there to protect us from our enthusiastic admirers.

Jean and I drink several toasts to England, to the Queen, and to a successful race. I stand up and stagger towards the lever to lower the flame. However, I trip on Jean and fall with all my weight on the lever. Instead of lowering the flame, I shut it off completely. We fall precipitously and hit the ground with a squish.

We dust ourselves off and march proudly towards the Queen. For some reason she appears to be upset. However, we attribute her emotion to the passion of the moment. We present her with the first Chardonnay bottle of the season.

But, the Queen, she is not thankful. No, she accuses us of murdering her Corgi. What dog, we ask? “The one under your balloon,” she cries.

Before we think to apologize, ill-mannered British policemen clasp handcuffs on us and lead us away. We hear behind us German and French voices arguing vociferously for the right to arrest us. Their argument appears to be escalating into a brawl. We shrug our shoulders.

* * *

“Bah! Monsieur le reporter, the food here in this jail is horrible! But yes, I have been without Dom Perignon for three days! Why are these stupid English treating me this way? Can it be that they do not care that I won the Chardonnay race?

Monsieur, tell my friends to hurry and get me out of here. The Tour d’Artichoke starts next week! Sacre bleu!”

****

I hope you enjoyed this chapter from my book. Please let me know what you thought of it. Thank you.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

We’re French and You’re Not, my cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: We're French and You're Not | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re French and You’re Not – Chapter One – Chardonnay Man – Part 3

1:55 p.m.: Mon Dieu! We arrive at our balloon minutes before the start of the race. Jean and I tumble into the basket. Pow! The starting gun fires. Jean starts the flame, so that our balloon will rise. But we are not going anywhere! We have neglected to untie our balloon.

Neither Jean nor I are sober enough to get out of the basket and untie the rope. What are we to do? Jean solves things by sticking his newspaper into the flame. He then sets fire to the rope with the burning newspaper. This maneuver works marvelously well and we soon soar into the heavens. We hear angry voices yelling down below. It seems that the fire from the rope is spreading to a nearby café. We shrug our shoulders, set the balloon on automatic pilot, and open our first bottle of champagne. We look forward to a fine race.

12 November, 10 a.m.: I wake up first and peer cautiously over the basket. It appears that we are over the town of Avignon. Well, I think I recognize the famous Pont d’Avignon. I awaken Jean and tell him our location. Jean marvels that we cleared the southern French Alps without incident. Our balloon’s automatic pilot and automatic navigational devices are working splendidly. We wonder for a moment how our competitors manage without them. We are now eating a simple breakfast of fresh croissants, a small omelette, and Perrier.

Noon: It is lunchtime, so we prepare lunch. We have Gruyère cheese, apples and onion soup. We drink a couple bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape, 1922. We look over the edge of the basket and would you believe it, we are over the town of Chateauneuf du Pape. We celebrate this coincidence by throwing eggs at people in the marketplace. These good-natured jests are the things that make races fun for all.

3 p.m.: We amuse ourselves by shooting at birds that land on our balloon. In a way, it is unfortunate that we are drinking so much or our aim would be better.

7 p.m.: We celebrate reaching Valence with a splendid dinner. We start with crab legs and cheese fondue, then trout à la Jean, beef bourguignon, and eclairs for dessert. We complement this satisfying meal with four bottles of Dom Perignon, 1953. Oh yes, for an after-dinner activity we examine the countryside. Jean notices that we have progressed another 100 kilometers. Splendid!

10:30 p.m.: Jean and I spend the night drinking wine and identifying constellations. I win this game by identifying Orion twenty times to Jean’s eighteen. Poor Jean, the clouds block Orion during two of his turns.

13 November, 9 a.m.: Apparently we are scudding over the city of Lyon. We don’t care much for Lyon. Suddenly, Jean spies a McDonald’s below us. What an affront to French cuisine! We bombard the place with our empty bottles and other trash. Below us, we hear the whine of converging police sirens. We also see the manager shooting his rifle at us. Ha! Ha! It appears that the police are lovers of good cuisine, as they are taking away the stupid manager of the stupid McDonald’s. We thumb our noses at your les hamburgers and your les fries!

Noon: Strong southwesterly winds blow us to the town of Besançon. We celebrate by using Doubs cheese in our magnificent omelettes. We have Kronenbourg with our lunch. This is the only time that we shall drink beer during the race. One needs to clear the palate at times.

4 p.m.: We have been heading northwest for a while. In doing so, we pass over the glorious Champagne region. We honor the land below by drinking champagne for the entire afternoon. I suggest that it would be a fine idea to gaze upon the glorious vineyards. Tears come to our eyes.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

We’re French and You’re Not, my cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: Uncategorized, We're French and You're Not | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re French and You’re Not – Chapter One – Chardonnay Man – Part 2

From the Private Diary of Robert Le Secraisin.

31 October, 5 p.m.: Jean and I begin planning our route for this year’s Chardonnay race. This year’s contest begins in Monaco and ends in Dover. We both agree that we must win the prize money to continue the lifestyle we deserve.

Jean traveled Tuesday to the Academy of Meteorological Sciences in Paris. He claims that he threw a spectacular two-day party there. I can well believe it, for Jean departed from our vineyard with fifty cases of our finest Bordeaux. He was pleasantly surprised that it took such a short time to win over the scientists. Not only did the happy academy give us the weather forecasts and the best routes, it also promised to provide bad information to our competitors. But no! This is not wrong, after all, we thought of it.

5:05 p.m.: Jean and I finish planning our route. We head to a party in Biarritz to honor the Spanish ambassador, or somebody.

2 November: Jean and I got lost yesterday driving back from the party. We spent the entire day driving in circles. We now commence the serious business of planning our menus.

9 November: Jean and I finish the menus. It means putting in a lot of late hours, but one must do these things right! Sacre bleu!

10 November, 9 a.m.: We start packing the food.

Noon: We start packing the wine.

5 p.m.: We start loading the equipment things that make the balloon go.

5:15 p.m.: We finish loading the equipment things. Next, we put the balloon on our limousine. Afterwards, we attend a party held by the mayor of Bordeaux. The mayor toasts our good luck. We promise to bring honor to the town.

11 November, Early morning!: Jean and I ride in our limousine to Monaco. Jean has hired a driver since we left straight from the party and cannot keep our eyes open.

Noon: We unload our balloon by the Boulevard Albert, which runs alongside the Port of Monaco. The race begins at two, so we have time to eat a four-star meal at the Hôtel de Paris. After lunch, we stagger across the street to the new casino to try our luck at roulette.

We do so-so until the ball lands on “00.” But we have all our money on red. The croupier whisks away our chips. We cannot believe it. What is this double-zero? There is no double-zero in roulette. I inform the croupier of this fact. The croupier deigns to reply that they play the American style of roulette in the new casino. Jean insists that we are not in America. I call the croupier a thief. The croupier shrugs his shoulders. Jean punches the croupier in his big stupid nose.

Just ten minutes later, another employee notices his bloodied, fallen comrade and helps him to his feet. The enraged croupier summons the security guards. But it is already too late. We are leaving, having stopped only to play a few hands on the new electronic blackjack machine. We have the good fortune to find a cab outside and so, we speed away to our balloon.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: We're French and You're Not | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re French and You’re Not – Chapter One – Chardonnay Man – Part 1

CHAPTER 1–CHARDONNAY MAN

Mom and Dad never talked much about the visit of Robert and his friend Jean, but I still remember how my French heroes smashed into our propane tank, burned down our barn, and tried to drive away with Mom.

Their stay, while arguably bad for Mom, a nondescript, faded beauty of 5’ 5” who now looked like a Russet potato with red hair, and Dad, an incredibly typical Republican farmer, inspired me to court my Frenchwoman.

Her name was Yvette Airelle. She wore dresses instead of overalls, dyed her hair blue to match her eyes, and smelled wonderful on the days that she showered. Her Parisian parents had sent her to Wheaton High to learn English, but she just wouldn’t talk to us brutes from Wisconsin.

But she would, if I learned how to act French like Jean and Robert. But I could do that, for I had Robert’s slightly charred diary. It was a wonderful book.

At first, just picking it up would make me daydream about them. Later, its passages came more and more to resemble my life.

Yes, I remember picturing them at their favorite café sipping their champagne when . . .

* * *

“There he is, the Premier of Belgium! At this very café, at this very table! Monsieur Le Secraisin, I must act.”

Monsieur le reporter, I too am outraged. He is sitting at our table. But how shall we get rid of him? Ah, he is eating pêche flambé.”

Fwoosh!

“You set the man on fire! The head of Belgium! They are taking him away.”

Monsieur, have a seat. Our table just became available. Calm yourself. I, Robert Le Secraisin, am a much better interview.

“You, of course, wonder, ‘what makes me so wonderful?’ You notice my dashing good looks and effortless charm. But still you think, ‘But this is not enough. These qualities only make me one in a thousand. What makes me the center of everyone’s attention?’ Well, for the few who do not know me, I race balloons. Yes, I do this with such style for such a worthy cause. I race for wine!

“But yes, I am a splendid 38 year-old, and in just eleven days, I shall take to the skies for the honor of my venerable vineyard, ‘Le Cerveau Malsain,’ and my fellow ‘Lords of Fun.’

“My goal is to bring the first bottle of Chardonnay wine to the British market in the annual Chardonnay balloon race. I am most assuredly the best.

“Ho! ho! I will spend the prize money on the best wine, talk to my many admirers, and say pretty things to all the beautiful women who wish to be seen with me. Yes, my life is one that all people should have.

“Ah! Here is my good friend Jean Bouillonner. Jean, will you join us for some pêche flambé?”

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: We're French and You're Not | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re French and You’re Not – Overview

We’re French and You’re Not is one of my favorite novels. I’m going to be providing excerpts from the first chapter during the coming days. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did writing them.

We’re French and You’re Not, is a hilarious romp focusing on the clueless French millionaire, Robert, and the effects of his diary on the conventional Wisconsin farm boy, Frank.

While in America, Robert and his constant companion Jean meet Henrietta Montcalm, a meek and nervous redhead. Their influence turns her into a feisty woman wanted by the police.

Henrietta decides to marry Robert and guides them toward a wedding in Reno. Jean can’t stand the thought of Robert giving up his bachelor lifestyle, so natu-rally he tries to kill him. Neither Jean, a burning hotel, nor fighter jets stop Henrietta from marrying Robert and taking off for her honeymoon.

Along their way, they incidentally: squash the Queen’s dog, fly a small plane inside an airport terminal, run McDonald’s in a very French way, rent exploding furn-iture, open childcare in Mammoth Caves, open a gourmet hospital, and drive their Geo Metro the wrong way in the Indy 500.
Sacre bleu, what fun things the Wisconsin farm boy learns about the world.

 

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: We're French and You're Not | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: