Monday, April 22, 2013

Eat that Grasshopper

If the sheer amount of butter and sugar inside an escargot from Du Pain et des Idées can kill, then I shall gratefully die a thousand painful, artery-clogged deaths. I don't normally allow myself - not like the old days at Prune with J and two of their pain au chocolats - each. How did we get away with that? I remember the slightly insane feeling creeping into my brain, the caffeine from that second terrible crème going to my head - the rising panic of too much richness in my veins. Ah - I could go and tear a house down. Conversations were passionate. Back then we could chain smoke inside, and we did, and the indulgence was so fantastic we could have died with bonheur.

Ah J, Paris is not the same without you, and even if you were still here, we probably wouldn't eat quite so many pastries. Certainly not the escargot.

They really are works of art. The range is ever changing. Today it was a choice between rhum et raisin, fruits rouges et cream cheese and chocolat pistache. Once a year there is fig and walnut and that is just about enough to throw me off the edge. Today I chose fruit rouges et cream cheese. I deserved it because I'd been on the RER to a place called Evry for a corporate acting gig, and I hadn't got too lost, and I did an ok job of acting like I was a formatrice in front of a teleprompter. I had twenty minutes to kill before picking up Kiki. So I treated myself. 

Then I went and ate a grasshopper. The contrast was astounding. My escargot was barely digested and still a note of sweet creamy joy lingering on my palate when Kiki and I popped into Julhès to get her some gnocchi. Julhès is a cheese shop that sells all sorts of wines and fancy things. But mainly cheese - it's been our staple for years but they recently got taken over by a whole lot of weird zombies so we don't buy cheese there as much. The gnocchi man seemed not to be stoned this time and when I went to leave he asked if I'd like to taste their sauterelle. 

'Sure,' I said, thinking sauterelle, or grasshopper, must be some sort of interesting cheese, just like snail can be a delicious gluttonous pastry. But he came over with something in his fingertips and dropped a small insect into my hand, a bit like a dried chilli, but with a head and antennae and a little abdomen. My stomach turned. The man smiled. 'Sauterelle.'  

'Is this candid camera?' I asked.

'No,' he said. 'It's nice - taste it. It's sort of salty, spicy - with herbs. It's good.'

'Well I suppose we do eat bugs in the country I come from,' I said. His female colleague and champion zombie sidled up beside him, smiling at me. She was holding a jar, like a salt container, full of the little chillies.

It was a dare.

Who knew?

I ate it.

It was disgusting.

'It's not my thing,' I choked to the man, who smiled and took the jar from the lady, shaking it. The sound of the dried bugs inside made me want to puke up my delicious escargot over their array of chevres frais.



At least I know now for sure which I'd rather stick in my vermin hole.  



  1. i cannot believe you ate that lady, mmm my stomach is turning in front of peter pan right now!!!

  2. Sometimes the idea of something is so disgusting that it just has to be delicious, otherwise why WOULD anyone?
    This is not one of those things.

  3. Incidentally, French 'Elle' just reported that 'sauterelle' and other such dried up bugs are all the rage this spring.