Posts Tagged With: Chardonnay

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

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


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.”


“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

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

Crispy Fish Scallopini

American Entree



2 garlic cloves
1 pound cod fillets or other white fish
¼ cup flour (1 more tablespoon later)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1 tablespoons Chardonnay or white wine
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon drained capers
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (up to 2 teaspoons more)
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon parsley

Serves 3. Takes 50 minutes.


cooking mallet


Mince garlic cloves. Pound cod fillets to ¼” thickness with clean cooking mallet. If you don’t have such a cooking tool, try putting a few sheets of wax paper on top of the cod and whack away with a blunt instrument.

Combine ¼ cup flour, pepper, sage, and salt in mixing bowl. Dredge the cod fillets through this mixture. Cut cod fillets into 6 cutlets. Put chicken broth, Chardonnay, water, lemon juice, capers, 1 tablespoon flour, and garlic in second mixing bowl. Mix sauce thoroughly.

Melt butter in no-stick frying pan. Cook on medium high and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place as many flour/pepper coated fillets as possible into frying pan. Cook for up to 5 minutes on each sides or until cutlets turn golden brown and crispy. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to the pan each time you cook another batch of fillets. Remove cod.

Pour broth/caper sauce into frying pan. Heat on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens. Pour sauce over cod cutlets. Sprinkle Parmesan and parsley over the cod.

1) Early humans were hunter-gatherers. They liked crispy mastodon steaks. Baby-back mastodon ribs were a particularly liked delicacy.

2) Where delicacy meant a rib or hunk of meat cut of the mastodon with flint, then thrown on to the fire. If the went out early, the meat was cooked on the outside and left rare on the inside, trapping the juices inside. Thus, the culinary technique of searing was born. Well done, mastodon chefs! Well okay, except for the omnipresent layer of ashes on the meat. Mesquite wood provided the tastiest ashes. To this day, mesquite wood is the choice for all serious barbequers. I told you the prehistoric era was a hotbed of culinary innovation. Oh, and sometime the fires were put out by sand.

3) Indeed, a revolutionary recipe by Ogg, a caveman states:

Our People Entree



1 mastodon
many pieces of mesquite wood
many handfuls of sand

Serves many. Takes time.




Skin mastodon with flint. Cut out chunks of meat with flint. Pile mesquite near a likely place for a likely lightning strike. Wait for lightning strike. Throw mastodon chunks on fire. Have sex with wife. If the love making is quick, the meat will be rare. If the foreplay is slow and sensitive, the meat will be well done. Put out fire with sand.

4) The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD wiped out the towns of Pompeii and Heraclaneum. However, a survivor, Quintus Cato, gleaned some good out of the bad days. He thought, “What if I flattened some fish with a mallet, breaded it, and gingerly dipped the fish into the edges of the lava flow just long enough for the sand to run through this timer? Why, I’d have some great crispy fish scallopini!”

5) Many fishermen met their end falling into the hot lava while making this dish. The lava method of preparing fish rapidly fell out of favor. People hated Quintus. His family was shunned.

6) Then in 112 AD, his grandson redeemed his family’s honor when he thought, “Oh feck, why not use mesquite wood or even wood from the olive tree?” And so, crispy fish scallopini became easy to make. We are forever grateful.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

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

Categories: cuisine, history | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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