A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Canard Caneton Rouennais

Canard Caneton Rouennais


His generous nose was held aloof and a thin strand of gorgeous hair dropped forward and brushed his elegant, sunken cheek. The fine, white-spotted, blue neckerchief covered the thick matt of dark hairs around his throat, missed by this morning’s razor. The elegant shirt, top two buttons fashionably undone, contrasted with the rustic linen jacket. A matching (what is the top pocket-handkerchief?) completed the brooding picture.

‘Your order sir?’

The restaurant was named after the famous local duck. The unique breed of domestic and wild duck was renowned world wide for its rich and gamey flavour. Less remembered was how the duck gained that flavour. They were raised on a diet of choice grains, fresh vegetables, the ground bones and waste products of their ancestors; and then they were strangled and prepared and cooked without being bled.

I scanned the menu. Tranche of Calves Liver with lime sauce looked innocent enough but scanning through the description of the meal showed vast quantities of port, sherry, and  Noilly Pratt, and the $45 price seemed a trifle expensive for what was largely a dish of offal.

I looked around the dining room which was now buzzing with the early evening crowd. A large lunch party, who I took to be ‘in the trade’, had just departed after dining since midday. Their loud extolling of the wine list had become passe but it had been intriguing to see grown men reduced to tears by food. The building had originally been a public toilet, hence the low ceilings and the abundance of porcelain tiles. Ironically the toilet, a crude affair the defied local hygiene standards, was now located outside. The low ceiling and dark overhead beams gave a dungeon like appearance and the view out the single window was a large brick wall. It was billed as one mans passionate, cerebral culinary journey into the unknown.

A rack of pork sounded nice but reading on I discovered that this was accompanied by a parmentiere of andouille and roast pigs ears reduction. Pigs ears reduction? Pleeeze! And veal sweetbread in a salt crust with hay and pollen. Well I remember that traditionally beef used to be cooked in hay but looking across the table I saw the dish and the pollen was accompanied by bee bits – thoughtfully omitted from the description. And a quirky innovation. Chicken cooked on drumsticks. Yes! Instead of skewers, sets of drummers sticks.

Special meals by request. Now that was interesting. I asked the elegant nose. ‘MMmmmm.! And tonight’s password sir?’ I looked quizzically at him and my tablemates. A few heads turned, with interest, to hear my response.

Story finishes – As I swayed out of the toilet I noticed the door. Set at waist height it could easily be missed. It was the corners of the door frame that attracted my attention. Thousands of tiny scratch marks, but on the outside? As if someone or something didn’t want to go into whatever was beyond that door.


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