Thursday, November 10, 2005

Old gentleman, getting there, modest cook

There is an old gentleman, whom I often pass in the street. He is well dressed in an old fashioned way, has a big white moustache and a sad, self-absorbed look. He is always on this own. I often want to greet him, but his reserved manner somehow prevents me from doing so. I passed him yesterday in the Grove and did so again to day at almost exactly the same spot and probably at the same time. I thought: if he so much as glances at me, I will say "good afternoon", but he ploughed on, and so, I regretfully admit, did I.

In a queue I see a familiar face, but one which looks tired and thinner than it used to be. I ask after his family and his health for want of anything else to ask after. "Getting there, he says, "getting there," but I have a feeling that he isn't really.

In a pretty book of recipes from Provence, the author writes with reference to the famous soup of the region, Soupe au Pistou: "In giving this recipe I tremble a little. Every housewife speaks of it with a fierce pride. Hers is the true version, the best." Such is the passion that cooking arouses, at least in France.

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