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Eat, Memory: Bardot’s Little Helper

Brigitte Bardot Article

Eat, Memory: Bardot’s Little Helper

a good article from BLOGSPOT:

Brigitte Bardot, Bridget Bardot or BriBri – Presented to the world in- And God Created Woman in 1956.

This was especially true when she smiled or laughed. It was less true when she was irritated or moody often and unpredictably. I have to say that even at 15 I could find her mind-numbingly strange. There was the day, for instance, when I was fishing off her dock, using a simple line and a hook baited with a paste of gruy and bread.
Brigitte Bardot suddenly appeared, berating me. The fish, she said, knew this was her house, and if they found themselves on the point of a hook they would feel betrayed. Thats exactly what she said, betrayed.But it would be O.K. if I fished somewhere beyond the wall, off her property. Which I did, hooking the fish just as successfully, regardless of what they might have thought.

I didnt have to do much to earn my salary: I hiked with her tribe of dogs along the coastal path, cleaned the pool, raked the beach and helped my grandmother cook for the dogs and their owner. My grandmother was a good cook, and although I couldnt have known it at the time, she was probably laying the groundwork for my life as a chef. Despite Brigitte strict anti-meat rules (vegetarianism was then almost unheard-of in France), Grandmother turned out a restaurant menuÂ’s worth of dishes: onion tarts, ratatouille, pizzas, vegetable-and-cheese quiches. I was her prep cook, peeling carrots and onions and readying other vegetables. The worst part of the work was what I called the torture-by-lemon. Over that summer, I had to zest innumerable lemons on a conventional box grater. Never got clever at it. My knuckles always ended up bloodied. The acid seeping into the scraped skin was unforgettably excruciating. I hated and feared those lemons.

When Grandmother cooked for Bardot, it was always with her own sense of dread because Bardot could be so relentlessly difficult. Her favorite dish, as I remember it, was a tabbouleh salad witht you know i lots of lemon zest. She loved the bite as much as I loathed the sting. (Lemon tarts, too, were a double-edged sword.) But when she was presented with the tabbouleh salad, or with many of the other dishes, there was always something wrong — at least in Bardot’s mind. She could carry on for what seemed to be a half-hour or more about how there still wasn’t enough lemon or some other thing. Its not that she didnt appreciate my grandmother and her cooking (although if youheard her, exactly what you would have thought).

She just seemed to enjoy throwing a fit, stomping her feet, a drama queen even when the camera was long gone.

As screwy as she could be, I developed a great fondness for her. Maybe because I needed so badly to be accepted. She regarded me as a kind of wild loner who played uninhibitedly with her animals and as someone she seemed to enjoy being with, as if I were an animal, too. She took me to my first Chinese restaurant and had me make a wish (which regarded my parents, of course). Tourists who spotted us together in St. Tropez must have thought I was her son. In fact, she once asked if she could adopt me. I think I said something sarcastic or dismissive, but probably would have been happy if she had. It never happened. (My rough-hewed father, when I managed to check in with him, always wanted to know if Id arranged to sleep with her yet.

That wouldnt happen, either.) In Bardot view, dogs inarguably required flesh of some kind to stay healthy. So on weekends my grandmother and I would cook several chickens, ostensibly for the dogs. I say ostensibly because we usually did a bit of trivial stealing in the process. We would prepare the chickens but hold back a plump breast and a couple of legs for ourselves. These parts would be spirited away to become the venerable and venerated poule au pot, poached chicken with a lemon-cream sauce. What remained of the chickens would be boiled, the bones removed afterward because chicken bones are dangerous for dogs, the meat shredded, the vegetables from the cooking broth mashed and all of it mixed with noodles. (After all that, who would miss a breast here and a leg there?

Thirteen equal servings of this concoction would be made ready. Then Bardot, my grandmother, any guests who might be around and I would go through a choreographed ritual, like a team of waiters at some elegant restaurant. The plates were taken out to the patio and all 13, if possible, would be placed on the ground simultaneously. This prevented chaos. If only one or two hit the ground first, the pack would leap on them and we would have a riot on our hands. Brigitte Bardots dogs had it better than any other dogs I ever saw in France the food, the care, the comfort and better than a lot of humans too. I dont know if all that indulgence was right or silly. As for me, I cook only for people now.
Here is link to
Brigittes Tabbouleh Salad

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Eat, Memory: Bardot’s Little Helper

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