Sunday, July 10

Let’s Just Call Them Authentic

When I started working at my current job I made the rookie mistake of using dill on a pizza. Dill can be used in a quiche with smoked salmon and pea puree, but not on a pizza that is trying to express what it would feel like to be in the Tuscan countryside. It was one of those moments when you’re new and have already asked so many questions that one more to add to the list would be pushing it. You don’t know where everything is, you don’t know where to look for basil when the only herb in the fridge is dill and so you chop dill, very finely, so it can be disguised by giant slices of mozzarella. I’m no herb slacker, I know the oceans far and wide between dill and basil and I know that dill can never (ever) be disguised by anything, especially when it is a giant white slab of something creamy that should always be enhanced by basil.

“There are not enough herbs on the pizzettes,” Le Monsieur said. That’s because I hid them so no one can ever, ever see them. But instead I said, “I know. I used dill because…” “What!?! You can’t use dill!!” But then he had finished talking and had shuffled into the corner with his hands over his ears as if he was trying to get rid of an awful noise that sounded like Smiggle whispering, “dill, dill, dill,” and he stood there shaking his head back and forth. I looked around me, unable to comprehend what was happening in this very very authentic French moment, to see if any of the other staff could see this. But no one seemed to notice this off-stage, in-reality comedic skit.

I won’t eat dill anymore, at least not for a while. But mint, mint can always be embraced. Flatmate and I have been attending to our mint plant, not very attentively, in anticipation of our cocktail-making-genius friend’s visit next week. However, the other day it was getting to the point of; ‘I’ve been watering you every day and been waiting long enough that I just need a taste of what is to come.’ And so I got on my bike and rode down into Le Marais to a bistro that fills up around 5 or 6 o’clock and plays Jimmy Durante. And I sat at a table that was arranged like this:

And as I pondered what delicious drink to order with mint in it, even though it was incredibly obvious and staring me right in the face, the waiter came out and put a shell on my table:

And then he told me the house specialty was a Mojito and I heard the jingle (which they should really have had written across their terrace), “You’ve come to the right place!” Not because they specialize in Mojitos or because you can find a 1987 edition of The Paris Review here, but because only in Paris could someone be bothered to rearrange your table while you sat there in the late afternoon sipping a cocktail on a day that was 37 degrees...

And then rearrange...

And rearrange...

And I had never thought about hosting a dinner party and changing the table arrangement all the way through the evening, until now.

Le Voltigeur
45, rue Francs Bourgeois,

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