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Eating a 31-Year-Old Time Capsule Auberge de L'Ill


AdamLawrence
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Cabrales,

I am hoping that your experience at Auberge de I'll is a temporary anomaly as we have reservations for 1 lunch and 2 dinners in September. I have never been there so I can't comment at all.

I would agree with Beachfan, however, that "good service" should have picked up the fact that you had not eaten the foie gras. When I leave a significant portion of food uneaten, normally someone from the waitstaff will ask if everything is all right. Of course, it is much easier when you are not a solo diner and can compare notes and thoughts with a dining companion - a kind of solidarity in numbers.

Also, I agree with Cabrales that there is a major difference between spoilage and preparation. The former is unforgiveable and the latter is always a subjective experience. Many, many years ago, on our first extensive trip to France, we were served very rare duck. I was aghast - what is this raw stuff. I had never eaten rare duck in the States and my palate, at that point, was definitely uneducated. Of course, I have come to love rare to medium rare duck, but back then, I was put off by the preparation.

Bux, I don't think there is a set standard for ordering menu vs. carte, but you rightly remembered that I prefer ordering the "tasting" menu, particularly at the first meal. This gives me a "feel" for the cuisine. On subsequent meals, I will try to order "signature" dishes but, as I prefer tasting portions, will often ask for "1 for 2." Most times, this can be accommodated. I have not found, however, that menu items tend to be more mini-assembly line processes. If anything, the menu items reflect what is fresh in the market.

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Lizziee, I didn't mean to paint you into a corner on the issue of ordering degustatcion menus. We're probably of similar minds on this issue. I tend to assume the tasting menu is a special work of the chef's art, whether or not it has a house speciality. In fact I harbor a parallel fear of Marcus' about tasting menus, but mine is about specialties. If Marcus worries that "the menu allows for advance preparation and establishing mini-assembly line processes which take away from the ultimate perfection of the dish," I worry that the chef's specialties have become boring for both the chef and the kitchen to prepare and may suffer as a result. Certainly the regular client is less likely to order them and the critics as well are likely focused on the new and thus it may be easy for a kitchen to allow these dishes to slide. Of course this depends on how "specialties" is defined. Nevertheless, whether or not a "menu" (in the French sense of menu) has the specialty of the house or not, I think it's an expression of the chef's art of preparing an integral meal. Another reason I'm loathe to ask for substitutions. I find it just a bit like asking for a substitution of garnish. As I see the plate as a whole, I also see the menu as a whole work. In any event, that's not a rule either. Ideally, I'd like to sit down and converse about food in the abstract with the chef and then have him feed me. I don't think I've ever quite done that, but I suppose I've approached that situation in the abstract on occasion. I've been fed by a chef who knows me once in a while and of course what he sends out is more influenced by what excites him rather than my tastes if he's an artist.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Bux,

We are exactly of similar minds. I do see the tasting menu as a relection of the chef's art. It is the way he wants us to view the meal as a whole. Hopefully, it becomes a symphony - one course building and leading to another. Also, it is nice that I don't have to think this process through myself - I can enjoy the meal, without having to conduct the symphony myself.

Your observation on specialities is what I was referring to re Georges Blanc. I think the kitchen is bored to death making the Bresse Chicken au G7 and it definitely comes out a "tired" dish.

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I thought some context for the manner in which I order upon first visiting a restaurant might be appropriate. I have been interested in French culinary history (including the history of restaurants in France) for some period. I collect cookbooks regarding French restaurants and cuisine. When I visit a three-star restaurant, I am sometimes tempted by certain dishes with historical significance. For example, at La Pyramides now, the only dish in hommage to F Point offered by P Henrioux is a Bresse chicken dish. I would have ordered it without regard to what else from Henrioux was available, because of the affiliations of the dish with F Point. When I visited Blanc for the first time, I had to sample the G7 chicken, not only because of my liking of Bresse chicken, but also because of the connections to the Lyons meeting of such group. Similarly for: Bocuse's Truffle Soup VGE, the Lameloise truffled pigeon dish, many of the dishes in Lorain's "Les Musts" (The Musts) section of the menu, the seafood sausage at Taillevent, etc. Who can go to the Tour d'Argent and not order the blood duck? Or Troisgros and eschew the salmon with sorrel? M Bras without sampling the coulant (although admittedly, that has newer versions released from time to time). How about Meneau without the oysters in gelee? Or Loiseau without his frogs' legs with parsley and garlic? There are just dishes that, even though conceived of some time ago, are so known that they have to be sampled. Not that a diner should adhere to the popularity of a dish, or its historical repute. However, there are certain dishes that I am eager to sample upon a first visit to the restaurant with which the applicable dish is affiliated.

My next item for sampling at Lucas-Carton: the lobster with vanilla. :laugh:

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Cabrales, my guess is that few people have done the research you've done when they first visit a three star restaurant.

Lizzee, it is nice not to have to think the meal though and let the chef serve you professionally. I will also admit to having ruined my own meals by trying to cram too many of the wrongs dishes into one meal. I've been educated by waiters and chefs in my day, but it's still hard to improve on a chef's selection as an abstract selection of courses to make a meal.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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A few more comments on menu vs carte. I should have made clear that I was referring to conventional menus and not tasting menus which is a whole other subject. There are many variations, but in many cases the menu is a selection of dishes from the carte with 1-4 selections per course, most typically 2. These are full sized portions. In return for selecting from the menu and eating a full meal, the diner receives a substantial discount over the cost of the meal had it been ordered a la carte. The menu may offer a selection of signature dishes or more recent dishes, but seldom the most recent or the most elaborate. The advantage to the restaurant is that the diner orders more food and the restaurant can do better planning in terms of acquiring food stuffs, pre-preparation and cooking processes, because it knows that a significantly larger number of specific dishes will be ordered. My contention is that what the diner receives on the plate does not represent the ultimate capability of the restaurant.

Tasting menus, which I only very seldom order, are a large number of small portions of dishes, often not on the carte, intended to showcase the chef's creativity. I have two problems with tasting menus: It provides too much input and doesn't leave me with clear impressions and recollections and the need to produce so many elaborate dishes in small quantities requires a maximum in pre-planning and corner cutting such that the results are often not that good. Many restaurants, including 3 star restaurants, do not offer tasting menus. However, many will let you construct your own tasting menu from the carte by ordering half portions, for example ADPA and Boyer. I think that this is a superior approach for those wanting to order a larger number of dishes or just to eat less.

There are always exceptions. As Cabrales points out, the menu of choice at Michel Bras is the tasting menu. This contains his latest creations and is ordered by the majority of diners. He also offers an Auvergnat menu with the famous aligote and beef d'aubrac and an inexpensive rustic menu at lunch with aligote and sausage. The carte here is just an afterthought intended only for those who don't want to order a full meal. A pointer, if you order the tasting menu and ask for a taste of the aligote, they will bring you a pot at no charge, at least that was my experience. I do wonder whether anyone else has observed that since he moved from the cheese cellar in town to his palace on the hillside, that there has been a very slight decline in the complexity and wondrousness of his dishes. I would attribute this to his new dining room seating at least twice as many diners, if not more.

With regard to Veyrat, unfortunately I've never been there. Veyrat appears at this time to be the professional food writers consensus single best chef in France and I would very much like to go there, but it has been too far out of the way on my recent visits.

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marcus -- On whether Bras has declined relative to his old location, I would not be able to speak to that. I did sample three meals there recently, including my first meal, and did not find the restaurant compelling. One of the meals, and Bux's recent meal there, are described in a thread initiated by Bux.

On Veyrat, I do not like his cuisine. I also do not agree that Veyrat is the consensus best chef in France among food writers. Which food writers are being included or not? Are you referring to international or French food writers? As you know, Veyrat alternates between the two restaurant locations; thus, if you view six Michelin stars as supporting the above position, I would argue that Veyrat doesn't really have two three-star restaurants and that standard should not control in any event. I have eaten four meals at Veyrat (2 each at Ferme and Auberge) (Note I am mentioning this in the context of my having eaten only one meal at Auberge de L'Ill and that having been relevant in this thread). The craziness (to be clear, in a negative way) of one of the meals is somewhere in the A Balic thread (consider searching for references to syringes if you are interested). :hmmm:

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"Many restaurants, including 3 star restaurants, do not offer tasting menus."

Marcus,

My experience has been just the opposite. Most of the restaurants we go to in France have a tasting menu and only a few offer just an a la carte option. I know L'Ambrosie and Taillevent do not have a tasting menu. I am not sure about Boyer and Lameloise. But the majority - Bras (which you mentioned), Jardins des Sens, Ducasse, Lucas Carton, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege, Apicius, Faugeron, Les Elysees, Pre Catalan, Jamin, Le Cinq, Rostang, Troisgros, Guerard, Bocuse, Veyrat, La Cote d'Or, L'Esperance, Cote St Jacques, Pic, Oustau de Baumaniere, Auberge de Templiers, Georges Blanc, Regis Marcon's Auberge et Clos des Cimes, Lion d'Or, Trama's Aubergade, Passedat - all have tasting menus.

" so many elaborate dishes in small quantities requires a maximum in pre-planning and corner cutting such that the results are often not that good." Marcus, I have never found this to be true. What in your experience makes you feel there is corner cutting?

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cabrales, I regret my asides, because the real purpose of my post was to discuss menu vs carte. However, I do stand by my comments and I never made any reference to 6 stars and I don't know why you brought it up. Obviously a restaurant whose staff moves seasonally from one building to another and where both are never open simultaneously is a single restaurant I don't see how this reflects on the chef one way or the other. I'm not sure why you challenge my comment about the professional food press as I would expect you to be indifferent on this subject. After all, someone who downgrages Ducasse, Bras and Veyrat and doesn't like Gagnaire either, is clearly an individual thinker.

lizziee, I tried to distinguish between menus, tasting menus and carte. I believe that a number of the restaurants that you name have menus, but not tasting menus.

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After all, someone who downgrages Ducasse, Bras and Veyrat and doesn't like Gagnaire either, is clearly an individual thinker.

marcus -- Yes, I do indeed subjectively dislike many chefs' cuisines :laugh: I dislike the cuisine of Gagnaire and Veyrat, among others, and dislike to some extent the cuisine of Ducasse (although my view on his cuisine has become slightly more favorable of late). However, note that I am not "downgrading", in the sense of denigrating, the cuisine of the chefs I happen to dislike. Each chef has his audience of diners who might be particularly receptive to appreciating his cuisine. That other diners might not feel similarly is not necessarily a poor reflection on the chef. Nor on such other diners.

I may return to eat at certain restaurants of cuisiniers I dislike. I monitor restaurants over time, thinking they might improve. What I have generally found, however, is that if I do not like a chef's cuisine at a given point in time, I am very unlikely to like it over time.

I would not say that I dislike Bras' cuisine. I noted a meal there was "gentle and appropriate, but not evocative". In other words, the meal was not compelling to me, but I liked it at some level. I thought there was moderation, and dishes were generally appopriately prepared. It was the case that I felt disappointed, relative to my heightened expectations. :sad:

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I tried to distinguish between menus, tasting menus and carte.  I believe that a number of the restaurants that you name have menus, but not tasting menus.

" the menu is a selection of dishes from the carte with 1-4 selections per course, most typically 2. These are full sized portions. In return for selecting from the menu and eating a full meal, the diner receives a substantial discount over the cost of the meal had it been ordered a la carte. "

Marcus,

Each of the restaurants I listed has a tasting menu. They are not full-size portions, but at least 5 or 6 small dishes that doesn't include the amuse or the cheese. I have the menus from each of the above restaurants and checked my accuracy before posting.

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I know L'Ambrosie and Taillevent do not have a tasting menu. I am not sure about Boyer and Lameloise. But the majority - Bras (which you mentioned), Jardins des Sens, Ducasse, Lucas Carton, Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege, Apicius, Faugeron, Les Elysees, Pre Catalan, Jamin, Le Cinq, Rostang, Troisgros, Guerard, Bocuse, Veyrat, La Cote d'Or, L'Esperance, Cote St Jacques, Pic, Oustau de Baumaniere, Auberge de Templiers, Georges Blanc, Regis Marcon's Auberge et Clos des Cimes, Lion d'Or, Trama's Aubergade, Passedat - all have tasting menus.

lizziee -- I agree, and can, based on current memory and without having checked my menus, double-confirm the following from your list have tasting menus within the meaning (with respect to the size of dishes not being full-size) you describe: Bras, Jardin des Sens, Ducasse (this manifests itself currently in the form of 3 plates of 1/2-sized portions from a certain part of the menu), Lucas Carton (a no-choice tasting menu during dinner, at least during 2001), Guy Savoy, Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege, Jamin, Rostang, Troisgros, Veyrat, La Cote d'Or (at least during one lunch I was there; other meals were dinner and I am less sure), and L'Esperance.

I would add P Henrioux's La Pyramide, J-G Klein's L'Arnsbourg (a super value at around 100-150 euros for a very expansive tasting menu), and E Loubet at Lourmarin. Boyer has a tasting menu, at least during lunch on one visit in 2001.

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This thread has unfortunately morphed into a discussion of menus, in the French sense of set prix fixe meals. Unfortunate only in that it lays hidden from those who might be interested and look for threads to read by title. It's an interesting topic. I've always felt set menus at any level often represented a good buy for the consumer as the savings are often shared or passed on to the diner. Often, not always. Sometimes it's abundantly clear that a prix fixe menu is an inferior offering made only to please the budget conscious. Even then, the same dish on the carte is likely to be the same as the one on the menu.

As for tasting or degustation menus, They seem to be the growing trend if not the norm at multistarred restaurants. It seems to be the rare restaurant that doesn't offer one, or does my perception differ from reality. I've not eaten at every three star restaurant by a long shot. I wonder if the practice is more common to the provincial restaurants than to the ones in Paris and more common to the creative ones than to the more staid restaurants. Just beyond the borders of France at El Bulli, the home of perhaps the most noted chef in Europe--Ferran Adria, the restaurant has evolved into a tasting menu only experience. There is no longer a "carte," although it existed as recently as 2000.

Ducasse seemed the natural to succeed Robuchon as the consensus "best chef" of France, if only because he took over Robuchon's restaurant. Today, I'm not sure there's a consensus. That may be healthier. I also find myself thinking of restaurants as "compelling" or not. I suspect that's a perception I've borrowed from Cabrales although we may not agree on which restaurants are compelling. We seem to agree however, that l'Astrance is compelling although not a three star restaurant. For me, the draw "compelling" may be the bigger draw than the number of stars. Oddly enough three stars means worth a special trip and two should be worth a good detour, but are there restaurants that do not merit stars that are still worthy of the trip. I found several unstarred restaurants in Barcelona that may draw me back there faster than a starred restaurant.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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. . . . but are there restaurants that do not merit stars that are still worthy of the trip. I found several unstarred restaurants in Barcelona that may draw me back there faster than a starred restaurant.

Bux -- No doubt there are restaurants that do not *merit* stars that are worthy of a trip. However, except for budding restaurants where the chef has pedigree from another restaurant with which I am familiar, for me the effort of identifying such restaurants is not worth current attention. If I happen to come across an inappropriately unstarred restaurant that appeals, that's great. However, that rarely happens unless the restaurant is first starting off and it has not yet proven itself to confirm it merits the star. If it's a restaurant that over some period does not merit a star, it would have to be a fairly special restaurant (e.g., a boutique concentrating on a product) to draw me. Say, for restaurants in Spain or France that specialize in the little piballes (spelling?) eels, or in black truffles when in season, or non-starred facilities in Marseilles offering wonderful bouillabaisse (that is one of the areas I am interested in exploring, restaurants in Menton that offer lemon dishes, restaurants in Cavaillon that speak articulately with melons, I could see being drawn back. Of course, I have never sampled piballes. Any leads would be appreciated. :wink:

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This is another ay, ay, ay thread where I can't figure out what you are all arguing about.

"Ducasse seemed the natural to succeed Robuchon as the consensus "best chef" of France, if only because he took over Robuchon's restaurant."

Bux - You're right. But in hindsight it's logical that he didn't. Robuchon was the zenith of traditional French cooking. I always say it as a joke but, the decision to make the mashed potatoes half potatoes and half butter and cream, that's the culinary equivelent of climbing Mount Everest. Not as a matter of difficulty, but as a matter of taking the risk to do it and serve it. What was Ducasse going to do, make it 2/3 butter and cream? Robuchon elevated old fashion cooking to the nth degree and Ducasse didn't have an answer for it. In fact, nobody did and that is why French cuisine is sort of in this funny place now.

I haven't eaten at L'Astrance, but I am finding "compelling" a bit hard to swallow when describing it. I've read people's reports about it with much interest. But I fail to see what about it is compelling. Clever yes. Inventive in pairing flavors yes. But compelling? That's a big ticket for me. Now Robert Brown's writeup of El Bulli, now that seems compelling. L'Astrance seems to be ingenius rather than compelling, especially at its price point, . But I say that as an outsider.

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Like Steve, I would have to say that Ducasse did not seem like the natural to succeed Robuchon as the best chef in France (assuming for this purpose that Robuchon was, which was likely the case for a certain period at least). It becomes more evident when one considers Ducasse's cuisine.

But leaving that aside, L'Astrance is a compelling restaurant in my subjective assessment. :raz:

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To enlarge this discussion a bit in the best "e-gullet tradition", I think you first have to decide why a restaurant is a 3 star? or why certain chefs are considered great? On a strictly personal level, what I find the most exciting is taking a dish that is so familiar, that we have eaten numerous times and either giving it a twist that you didn't expect or "tweaking" it to greater heights. Often it is doing something that on the surface seems simple that you say to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" Steve's example of Robuchon is perfect. I think he is absolutely correct when he states,"the decision to make the mashed potatoes half potatoes and half butter and cream, that's the culinary equivelent of climbing Mount Everest." Simple yes, but a culinary stroke of genius.

When you think of it, the best inventions have been the simplest - the hula hoop, the straw, the coiled telephone cord.

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Pibales have a very short season. I believe it's in the fall. I've had them in Amat's old place outside of Bordeaux. I've seen them for sale in Barcelona canned, but I wasn't sure if they were the real pibales. A manufactured pibale is also on the market. Kurlansky's The Basque History of the World tells of a vermicelli like surimi product sold as "gulas." The Spanish name for pibales--which is the French name for elvers--is angulas. It's txitxardin in Euskera, the Basque language.

I think Steve said that at the time he took over Robuchon's space he did seem like the obvious choice to many to succeed Robuchon, but that with hindsight, it's easy to see why he didn't. I'm not sure there's a chef with a cuisine that make him a more natural choice than Ducasse. While Ducasse is not the leader, I don't see a leader anywhere else and I'm not sure that's necessarily bad. The lack of a leader may be seen as an indication that French cuisine is not going anywhere, but it may also mean a certain freedom for chefs to create and find their own direction. That will be an odd situation for a country whose cuisine had been so codified in the 20th century. It's not politically correct for me to make such a generalization, but I've felt the French create best within a tight framework.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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The following is an ironic (at least for me) excerpt on Auberge de L'Ill from Henry Viard's "The Gourmet's Tour of France. 27 Great French Restaurantsw and Their Favorite Recipes" (English translation, Little Brown 1984):

"Paul, who succeeded his father [and is the father of the current lead chef Marc], concentrated his efforts on innovating, drawing upon the resources of Alsatian gastronomy for inspiration but taking into account the new preferences of the customers. . . . We gourmands derive our happiness from the delights to be found on the menu of L'Auberge de L'Ill: boudin de cailles et de foie d'oie cuit a la vapeur (steamed sausage of quail and goose livers), *salmon souffle*, aiguillettes de canard aux pleurotes fraiches et aux petits oignons (duck fillets with wild mushrooms and onions) . . . sandre au Pinot noir (pike perch in wine sauce), supreme de faisan Alcantara (pheasant with foie gras, port wine and truffle sauce and small quenelles of pheasant meat), *peach Haeberlin* (poached, served with pistachio ice cream and a a champagne-flavored cream sauce), peches souffles Cardinal de Rohan, or the rhubarb-glazed souffle in a cherry (griottes) sauce."

"At Illhaeusern, the river is sinuous and bucolic; the weeping willows plunge their thin, tender branches into it."

Sadly, there is also a chapter on Amat at the Saint-James. It reminded me of how well regarded Amat had been at one time (without any connotations as to his current position). :sad:

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Another book with an excerpt on Auberge de L'Ill is James Villas' "Villas at Table" (1988):

"[W]e were confronted with a whole fresh black truffle coated with foie gras, baked in puff pastry, and served with a burnished Cognac-and-truffle sauce; a delicate effusion of cream, egg yolks, frogs' legs, Riesling, and watercress, called simply 'le potage de grenouilles au cresson'; small salmon filltes concealed under a pike souffle with an ethereal cream sauce (le saumon souffle); roasted local pheasant stuffed with foie gras, mushrooms, and cagge in a truffle Madeira sauce; and a voluptuous white peach poached in vanilla syrup and served in a chocolate 'butterfly' [not in the version I received] with pistachio cream and a Champagne sabayon sauce. . . . "

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I have happy associations with l'Auberge de l'Ill going back to almost ten years ago. From what I've read more recently, I'm not about to shatter my dreams.

"I couldn't go past Freiburg without dropping in on James Avery, the wonderful American pianist who presides over its Musikhochschule and who knows the region's food and wine with an authority born of long familiarity and enthusiasm. My last visit to him included a trip across the border with his wife and son to L'Auberge de l'Ill in Illhäusern for a menu gastronomique which lasted an eternity and seemed but a moment. Europeans know how to deal with small children: treat them as human beings. James and Ujo's four-year-old child came along with us and sat through the whole meal in total contentment. He was given his own little gourmet meal, which was not hamburger-and-chips, and a specially printed restaurant coloring book with outline pictures of the hotel, the scenery, the waiters, and the food and wine. He sat happily with us for almost four hours, filling in the spaces with crayon and adding some creative caligraphy of his own, getting up a few times to play quietly in a corner, and really enjoying the food. What a lucky child! But then family dinners have always been a tradition in Europe, whether at home or in a restaurant. In Britain, alas, I once overheard an elegant woman in a Swansea restaurant remarking dismissively to her companion, "They bring children out to eat now." She turned out to be the manager of a very swish (not Swiss) hotel in Belgravia. I'm glad she wasn't *my* mother."

John Whiting, London

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a voluptuous white peach

How many fruits can be voluptuous? Certainly a peach. A tomato, a plum, a persimmon? An orange or a grapefruit can be zaftig, but I don't think they can be voluptuous.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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How many fruits can be voluptuous? Certainly a peach. A tomato, a plum, a persimmon?
Or a nectarine, or a mango. It is from the Latin "uoluptuarius", devoted to pleasure. It may reasonably be applied to any mature fruit which, because of its roundness, ripe juiciness, sweetness, soft delicate skin and general vulnurability is suggestive of the female breast. (I didn't make this up; literature in all languages is full of it.)

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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It may reasonably be applied to any mature fruit which, because of its roundness, ripe juiciness, sweetness, soft delicate skin and general vulnurability is suggestive of the female breast. (I didn't make this up; literature in all languages is full of it.)

I think you've enumerated the inherent qualties that eliminate melons, eggplant, etc. I wonder about a very ripe pear. Perhaps a pear could never be supple enough to resemble flesh which must be the first qualification. Above all, I appreciate the permissiveness implied in your post.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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