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.