Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Un Peu and the great step forward!


This is indeed a momentous day for the exciting world of French patisseries for my husband has decided the family biscuiterie is to lead the march forward into modern times. Since the unfortunate incident in 1914, when Chief Patissier’s Elder brother was horrifically killed having got his braces caught in the ancient dough mixture whilst supervising the preparation of gallettes for our brave French troops , all the dough has been mixed by hand as a mark of respect. However he has declared that grief must not hold us back any longer, for he has learnt of an innovative new mechanism which is suitably equipped to pound the butter sugar, milk and eggs necessary to make an acceptable dough without risk to life and limb.

I suspect he heard it discussed whilst at the Moulin Rouge by other biscuit manufacturers there buying flour, I am certain a great many things are discussed amongst the men meeting at such places which are far beyond the understanding , and dare I say interest, of ladies such as myself!. Apparently a young American Aviator stationed at the village of Pontanezen near Brest has made important technical developments and produced a vastly superior dough mixer using only the remnants of a captured German maxim machine gun, an abandoned plough, six bayonets and a large metal container traditionally used for cooking alimentation for pigs, It is the vanguard of industrial development and Chief Patissier, having apparently seen the young mans photograph, is intent on meeting him. I have not seen him so exhilarated since Antoine came back from the battle of Verdun miraculously unscathed!

Chief patissier wrote to the young man, whose name I believe is Elmer bucket or something equally bizarre, only last week and has already received a reply and thus is eager to travel to Brest at the earliest opportunity to see his splendid tool.

Much to my surprise and elation my husband has suggested I accompany him to Brest, although he is understandably dubious that a foreign troop encampment of battle scarred young soldiers awaiting repatriation to their home country after the unspeakable rigours of warfare may not perhaps be the ideal place for a woman of my refinement, he can not deny that my English is far superior to his own and hence, if he is to make progress with the young inventor he needs must have me at his side! My only fear is that his American accent may be so strong as to render his English indecipherable, however by talking loudly and annunciating clearly I am sure I shall be perfectly able to make myself plain.

I need hardly say I am thrilled at the prospect, it certainly is not Paris but it is undoubtedly an adventure ! Who knows what inspiration I may glean for future works of art ? Quelle Chance pour moi!

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The illustration is entitled « PATISSIER, TOUR A P├éTE, BASSINES, MORTIER &c” by Robert Benard. It is a copper plate engraving showing a kitchen scene, and drawings of various utensils, which together form the accoutrements of the Patissier’s craft. Although this may be dated 1760 I hope you will appreciate that little has changed in the world of biscuiterie, hence a dough making machine, even if it is constructed from a machine gun, an abandoned plough, six bayonets and a large metal container traditionally used for cooking pigs swill, may only be viewed as an advancement in technology!

8 comments:

Pondside said...

Bon Nuir, Un Peu - I can't go to bed until I have my bedtime story of the goings on chez Loufouque. I hope that Brest is all that it can be for you - I once had a most wonderful chicken dish there and I highly recommend it.
Please, please be careful with the American aviator. You may not realize that American men are easily encouraged - something that a woman of your refinement and sheltered upbringing might not know.
Can't wait for the next installment!

annakarenin said...

Let us but hope the metal container is thoroughly disinfected then and I am sure Brest will give you much to write about, look forward to hearing all about it.

No more kitties but still keeping an eye on her though she is far more capable than our setter. We ended up with her litter in our bedroom because she was so clumsy and kept squashing them and loosing them.

ChrisH said...

Oh goodness me! I have been out in the cold so it's good to come in and catch up.

Cait O'Connor said...

What an exciting prospect in store. I wonder what adventures await in Brest?
Caitx

sally's chateau said...

With your frenetic lifestyle a few days rest will do you good I'm sur. I do hope the weather in Brest has turned as beautifully hot as it is here.

Fennie said...

An American aviator called Elmer
Wondered, of biscuits, how to selmer
So he invented, in Brest,
With machine gun and chest
A mixing machine that just heldmer

Suffolkmum said...

Loved the tragic tale of the Patissier's brother. An adventure is looming - please take care, those Americans may offend your sensibilities.

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Oh yes - an adventure - but not as we know it - I'll be bound.