“Paris Was Yesterday”-by Janet Flanner

July4

“Paris was Yesterday” is not a food-themed recounting as are the majority of works  that I normally read and provide excerpts of here.  In fact, if I were to pick one subject of the many that were included in this read, it would have been the coming together in Paris of the major writers of the young century at Janet Flanner’s favourite French cafe.  This reminded me of  “Midnight in Paris” written and directed by Woody Allen-a film that we loved in spite of the critics not being particularly thrilled with it.

In her lengthy introduction, she sets the scene for her time in Paris and this is primarily where her food references are found including this one from page 7:

“With my stomach stirred to hitherto unexpected satisfactions, with my palate even now able to recall the sudden pleasure of drinking a tumbler of more than ordinary red or white French wine.  I can recall the sensual satisfaction of first chewing the mixture in my mouth a crust of fresh french bread and then the following swallow of the wine itself, like the dominant liquid guide leading my nourishment down through my gullet into my insides.  Eating in France was a new body experience….

The lunch was a fixed price and in its lack of surprises.  There was a plate of hors dourves including a slice of Jura pate, flavored with wild thyme, and as the main dish, a succulent stew or an escallop of veal and a salad with goats cheese, plus a small black french coffee which tasted like death.  It was a civilized, countrified, appetizing inexpensive French meal.  It probably cost me about thirty cents plus a ten per cent tip for Yvonne the Terrible” ( so named because she was such a terrible waitress).

 

My favourite artists also assembled in Paris and are represented in this book.  I am particularly fond of  the work of Degas and Monet and not so much of Picasso but this reference makes me feel more inclined towards him, as a person.

“By this time he had his arms around me and was thumping me enthusiastically on the shoulders.  “You look fine; not a day older”, and I said “Nor do you”, and he said  “That’s true;  that’s the way you and I are.  We don’t get older, we just get riper.  Do you still love life the way you used to, and love people the way you did? I watched you and always wanted to know what you were thinking…Tell me, do you still love the human race, especially your best friends?  Do you still love love?” “I do”, I said, astonished at the turn the monologue was taking.  “And so do I!” he shouted, laughing.  “Oh, we’re great ones for that, you and I.  Isn’t love the greatest refreshment in life?” And he embraced me with his strong arms, in farewell.”

Kath’s quote: Isn’t love the greatest refreshment in life?  Pablo Picasso

Love-that is all.

Photos of Monet & Degas are my own, taken in Musee D’Orsay, Paris.


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