The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'francois mitterrand'
A list of bizarre and delicacies which one is unlikely to see in any restaurant, even one that serves (almost) illegal delicacies:
Ortolan: Famous for being the last meal of Francoise Mitterand, ortolan is a tiny songbird that is said to "embody the soul of France." To prepare, one must capture the birds alive, blindfold them (or place them in a lightless box) and gorge them on millet, grapes and figs. To cook, pop the little guys in the oven for a couple of minutes. The trick is in the eating. You must place the whole bird in your mouth, leaving the head dangling out and place a cloth over your head. Supposedly the most delicious taste on the planet, the dish is illegal in its native France and, of course, here.
Mellified Man: Mellified Man was a manmade dish popular in ancient Arabia. According to Mary Roach, author of Stiff, men 70-80 years old, on death's doorstep anyway, would cease to eat food, instead partaking solely of honey. Pretty soon, they would be mellified, that is, "he excretes honey (the urine and feces are entirely honey)." Soon he dies and is placed in a honey-filled coffin which is then sealed for 100 years. At the end of the 100 years, the goop is eaten up.Also illegal in the US (where the article was written, and the barely-legal restaurant it refers to serves things like foie gras and absinthe) are unpasteurised French cheeses (though there is a thriving underground of bootlegging "fromaguerillas" importing the stuff under the nose of the Feds) and fugu, or the Japanese puffer fish.
But yes, don't expect your favourite trendy restaurant to start serving mellified man any time soon; for one, the logistics would be problematic (would you order in advance?)
(via Boing Boing)
It has been revealed that, during the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher threatened a nuclear strike on Buenos Aires unless the French handed over the codes for disabling Argentina's (French-made) missiles.
Mr Mitterrand — who once described Mrs Thatcher as "the eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe" — went on: "One cannot win against the insular syndrome of an unbridled Englishwoman. Provoke a nuclear war for a few islands inhabited by three sheep as hairy as they are freezing! But it's a good job I gave way. Otherwise, I assure you, the lady's metallic finger would have hit the button."Then again, would Britain have been able to launch a nuclear strike without US approval back then? These days, the British nuclear arsenal is operated under contract by a US defense firm, whose technicians apparently have instructions to require confirmation from the Pentagon before launching missiles. Then again, it is not entirely clear how difficult it would be for a determined Britain to get around these restrictions, or indeed that Reagan (who, famously, once went on air and announced, in jest, that the US was launching a massive nuclear strike against the "Evil Empire") would have vetoed a strike on Argentina.
Meanwhile, Mitterrand got his own back with the Eurotunnel, triumphing where Napoleon had failed, at least in his own mind:
France, he said, would have the last word. "I'll build a tunnel under the Channel. I'll succeed where Napoleon III failed. And do you know why she'll accept my tunnel? I'll flatter her shopkeeper's spirit. I'll tell her it won't cost the Crown a penny."