Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Marie Antoinette knows best...





I seem to have divided the past few days between frantically driving about the wilds of the countryside running errands ,and children ,to different places and engaged in high speed food production. The small citizens of France eat a lot. When Marie Antoine said" let them eat cake" this was nothing to do with her indifference to the suffering of the masses, she just knew that it was inevitable that they had eaten everything else in the place already.




Today, up at an ungodly hour, I made crepe batter for breakfast, organised a vegetarian risotto from the left over’s in the fridge and trawled the depths of the freezer for fish for lunch, toyed fleetingly with making a chocolate cake then settled for a life saving batch of biscuits instead.




Thus at 10.30 I could be found swathed in my apron , like a vrai drudge ( me not the apron) and rubbing butter into flour with the help of Francis Cabrel and Renan Luce. They may not be much practical help with the baking side of things but there is nothing quite like them for raising the spirits with song, and bless them they don’t mind when I belt out the wrong lyrics at full volume nor quibble when I yell "Mais me, je suis un homme..." when ,obviously built as I am , I am not and never shall be one..an homme that is.




All morning as me and my French crooners busied ourselves about the cuisine ,them safely ensconced in the CD player ,me flitting at speed between oven fridge and larder, we had a steady stream of visitors as the diminutive sons and daughters of the revolution played cache cache. As is proper we stoically ignored them as they hid under the sofa, behind the chairs and beneath the tablecloth . I rolled and kneaded pate for biscuits , Francis pondered on whether God was still there and Renan went on about wrongly delivered post.




Softly and slowly like small boats drifting, shoreward’s on the tide the petits citoyens all bobbed up around the kitchen table and watched, in silence , as I cut out trays of biscuits on the slab of granite I use as a pastry board. They looked from me ,to the board ,to my sons with their oh so French raised eye brows elevated in wordless questioning.




"She is making biscuits" explained Middle.


"Ahh" came their perplexed reply.




I don't think they have ever seen anyone make biscuits. I don't think I have ever seen a child who has never seen someone make biscuits so we each stared back at each other in barely disguised disbelief.




They stood and watched as if this bizzarre English activity were some new spectator sport and then, suddenly, along with Renan, they all started singing. Totally spontaneous, totally unselfconscious ,totally in tune and in time with the song they stood watching me make biscuits singing their hearts out. The song finished they all turned around and walked off chatting to continue with their game of hide and seek as if it was all some well choreographed scene from a Francois Truffaut movie.


Upon reflection, I think my entire life here is part of some strange French movie. Sadly I do not however look at all like Audrey Tautou which is a shame really.




Ah well, Mais C'est las vie!




If you want to hear what they were singing then click the link here..http://www.wikio.fr/video/15705


12 comments:

jackofall said...

Sadly that I never got to try any of those biscuits (to paraphrase one of Youngest's turns of phrase)before they were all snaffled. But I did witness them singing, and it was just as she wrote.

Sally's Chateau said...

I'm rather intrigued as to what delights your afternoon holds in store ? being very nosey.

ChrisH said...

Coo! A domestic goddess as well!

bradan said...

It all sounds do wonderful.
Here we have had the hide and seek games and the stoically ignoring as wee ones dart around the house, but no singing, sadly the children here are too shy.

Elizabethd said...

Oh come on Nigella, I've always said that you and Audrey T.are twins.
Biscuits sound very English, and very yummy.

Milla said...

love biscuits, that bit I can get, it was the getting up early to grapple with the fridge and conjure up several other courses that leaves me exhausted.

Fennie said...

Now, are his biscuits better than hers? I ask only because the Sun carried a banner headline today in which Jacko and Superbug figured prominently. I can't remember what was in-between but for once I don't think the Sun was using Superbug in a disparaging sense. This doesn't have any relevance, I suppose, but I wonder whether those children were singing to distract, (like the Sun with its banner headline) a well-practiced routine to divert attention from some nefarious going on - biscuits gaily shovelled from oven to haversack by the small non-singing one (as opposed to the one singing nun, who I think was called Wendy). You wouldn't have thought it possible to call a nun Wendy, would you? Maybe she had never seen anyone bake biscuits either. In any event I should count both biscuits and children carefully before they leave.

Pondside said...

You had me right there in the kitchen, smelling those biscuits (biscuits, as in white things to be spread with butter and jam, or what we call cookies? Whatever - this was a scene from a movie I'd like to see.

Frances said...

I do love the screenplay, and wish I could have sampled everything you made in that busy, song-filled kitchen. Those children are going to beg for adoption proceeding to commence immediately!

xo

muddyboots said...

biscuits, crepe, what's next on the delicious menu? do you need me to send jenny over?

KittyB said...

I shall have to send my friend's son over to you. He would fall in love. And he'd definitely join in the singing. He has a Mummy-crush on any Mummy who bakes biscuits, and everlasting love if you give him a bowlful of apple crumble, warm from the oven. His Mummy leaves the baking to Mr McVitie et al.

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