Food related items

Firstly the good news is that our local ‘superette’ has reopened after sitting there dismally neglected for well over a year. The previous managers got into financial difficulty  and upped and left all of a sudden, although it was clear things were rapidly going downhill. The meat and vegetables were left on display long after they were past their best and the cheerful people who took over the shop became rather surly and bad tempered. The customers voted with their feet and didn’t go in unless it was a dire necessity.

The new people have completely gutted the interior and transformed the shop into a clean and spacious area where there is a small but comprehensive selection of  all the basics. Unfortunately they have a large number of  ‘Grand Jury’ products – a ‘cheap’ brand which is cropping up in all the supermarkets and is noticeably of inferior quality.

However, the bright smiles and welcoming attitude of the ladies who have taken over make you want to support them and wish them well in their  new enterprise.

The second news item is that we have a market on Saturday mornings now.  Nearby villages only have a market once a month so we are being spoiled. It’s strange though, that some weeks there is quite a good selection of stalls but at other times there are only a couple of fruit and veg merchants and  the fish van. But on March 12th we are promised an extra special market including lots of local products that we don’t normally see on our doorstep.

Now, the final bit of news is that today I plucked up the courage to try ‘steak tartare’ at the local restaurant. It appears as one of the ‘plats du jour’ from time to time and I have often asked myself if I dare give it a go. Yes, I’m usually game to try anything edible and there aren’t many things I really dislike – oysters and tripe come to mind – so it was high time I gave the raw mince a chance.

“I’ve never eaten steak tartare so I’d like to try it” I  said to Fabienne when she came to take our order.

She nodded approvingly,  “with chips and salad? That’s how it’s usually served.”

“Yes please”.

“And a side order of sick bag” whispered Bear, but Fabienne doesn’t understand English.

Actually, Bear was quite concerned and assured me that I didn’t have to eat it. He even offered to get me a second meal if it was awful.

The restaurant was busier than usual and we had to wait a bit longer for the meals to arrive so I’d drunk half my wine by the time Fabienne appeared carrying three plates.

She put down Bear’s ‘boeuf braisé’ and then there, in front of me was a plateful of meat (with a raw egg on top) and chips and another plate full of mixed salad.

“It will take me all afternoon to finish this!” I exclaimed.

“Don’t worry, we’re not closing” quipped Fabienne.

Well, it was much better than I’d expected:  already seasoned and the texture was softer than I had  thought. In fact, it was quite delicious.

There were just two small problems: why did they put the hot chips with the raw meat and serve the salad on a separate plate? And, why was there so much of it?

It was very good but I simply couldn’t finish it all. About a third of the meat found it’s way back for the chickens and cats (by way of a small plastic bag) and I had to leave half the chips on the plate. But, I was a good girl and polished off all the salad.

Would I choose it next time it’s on the menu? Well, I’d be tempted but I wonder if they do half portions.

16 Responses to “Food related items”

  1. tillylil Says:

    Well attempted Sandy – What next?

    • sablonneuse Says:

      Well, they also do moules (mussels) which I have tried in the past. I like them until I get an unchewable one and then i find it hard to continue. I’ve watched fellow diners tucking in at the local place and so one of these days I may try again.

  2. Pat Says:

    When we were only allowed £50 a year for foreign travel in the sixties, my companion and I ordered steak tartare, not having a clue what it was, but it was the cheapest dish on the menu.
    We were ravenous so we ate it but I have never repeated the experiment:)

    • sablonneuse Says:

      That implies that you didn’t like it very much. Was it because it was raw or because you didn’t like the taste?

  3. Vagabonde Says:

    Steak Tartare can be very good, it depends how your prepare it and how good and fresh the meat is. I used to eat that all the time when I was in the apartment in Paris going to school because I did not have to cook. I took just about 200 gr of steak haché or filet, ground very fine, added my egg yolk, moutarde de Dijon, capers, parsley, little ail and oignon, oil and HP sauce (since I went to college in England I like HP sauce on almost everything!.) Then mixed well – voila! I liked to place some cornichons on the side. Also depending on your taste you can add a little bit of lemon juice, or a teaspoon of Cognac, or a few shake of Tabasco to liven it up. I also made it with very good horse meat – that was good too. Although when I said in the US that I ate raw horse meat they looked at me as if I were a cannibal!

  4. sablonneuse Says:

    Thanks, Vagabonde. I’d love to season it myself one of these days. Once, when having lunch out with a friend, I watched her preparing her own Steak Tartare and she offered me a taste but I was only prepared to put a tiny amount in my mouth. It tasted fine but I was put off by the fact that it was ‘raw meat’ at that time.

  5. guyana gyal Says:

    I guess I’ll never know how that tastes seeing that I don’t eat meat. But in this culture, I don’t think anyone would eat it either 🙂
    I had to google this one, I saw the pics. Did Bear take even one taste?

  6. antiphonsgarden Says:

    How pure of doubt must be the courageous souls trusting theses days fresh mayonnaise, raw meat and eggs .
    Maybe a real change would be little stores in those little villages with real local ecological produced goods. Sadly bio nutritions exists paradoxically mostly in city’s, out of reach for most countryside living citizen . Sadly the little village stores sells mostly overpriced supermarket food, not inspiring me to support as local difference, specially in an environment many locals don’t hesitate to transform into agricultural factory’s for short therm thoughtless profits.
    Back to the garden, it s spring bringing lots of work.

  7. Patricia D Mackay Says:

    I think it was the rawness and the fear of getting some dread disease. In those days one didn’t readily connect the French with hygiene and remembered they ate rats during the storming of the Bastille period.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      I have to agree that it was the ‘rawness’ that made me hesitate for such a long time but having noticed that lots of people I know have eaten it without any ill effects I thought I’d give it a go.

  8. antiphonsgarden Says:

    I would have trust the eggs of that time, far more than those these days from the agriculture factory’s.
    My mother told me about the eggs they found as they came home after the evacuation from Paris, and how they enjoyed the omelette.
    I guess some in England must have know some excellent recipes with rats too, and these days considering the social conditions in both country’s, I would say that the division goes deeper on the island.
    Some should remember that speculating with food creates good conditions for revolutions.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      It is sad to think that modern food production is probably less safe in many ways than in the old days when hygiene wasn’t practiced so widely.
      I have tried raw eggs from my own hens but, quite honestly, I don’t much like them unless they’re eaten with something else.

  9. antiphonsgarden Says:

    As child, I used to like fresh bread dipping into a beaten raw egg.
    One more simple delight gone with the so called modern agriculture.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      They still say that raw eggs are good for you – provided that you know where they cone from of course.

  10. Susie Vereker Says:

    How brave. I’ve tried a lot of things but not that. A raw egg too. Glad to hear about the superette!

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