My French local supermarket, has mice, not the cute, Mickey type nor the Tom and Jerry type, but the dark grey vermin type. I detest mice, they breed like crazy and are incontinent. And, I do not want to see any evidence of them when I am shopping, no droppings, no nibblings and no sightings!
I have been known to have stores shut on account of mice. Once many years ago in Belgium, my local, had an abundance of them, so many in fact they stood inline ( more or less) to say Bonjour, as you entered. They were everywhere, when I mentioned it to the manager, his response was “Ça vous gêne, Madam? ( does it bother you) Well yes it did, so I ran a personal campaign to get rid of them, and I won. Phew, it was however, not an easy task, when confronting Le Maire, and telling him it would be shut down in England, his reply was a comforting, ” Ah Qui, Madam, ce n’est pas Angleterre, c’est la Belgique “.
Still, years later, willowy Brunette, reported mice in her local supermarket, and behold, Westminster council shut them down overnight. On the other hand, I am grateful that I do not have to shop in Superama ( aka Pooperama) in Mexico City, where sylph like blond has to shop, chicken defrosting on the counter top, along with fish, which generally smells a bit and she has even found maggots in the ground beef.
Still disgusting as that is, it does not compare to our hotel ( sylph Blond and myself) in a remote Chinese town, where mice were running around the bathroom, and cockroaches thought that our back packs made a wonderful new home, or in Kathmandu in the Dwarka Hotel ( a beautiful building with exemplary service I have to admit) where Rats were running down the wall! And the reply to all of this was “they are only little animals!” I think I can hardly blame them, after all when it is minus 15 C outside, where would you rather be, warm and snug with a plentiful food supply, or freezing to death outside, But just do not let me see any evidence of them.
There are several food items, available on the markets in France, and as I have said before, that I love food markets, that I do not understand at all. One is their passion for Nougat, huge slabs of it in 50 shades and flavours.
Another is Pain d’Epices, which is basically gingerbread, again available in large quantities, and various extra flavourings . The only time I have eaten it, it was served as a base for Fois Gras, not a good combination at all, the fois gras, hot and buttery, whilst the Pain d’Epices, was dry and boring. This year I have discovered another, and it is Bescoins. Until now I have not eaten any, however, it was for sale outside our church on the evening of Assumption ( a national holiday in France), we had to look up the word and after many attempts found out that it is a type of bread or possibly Brioche, coloured with saffron and flavoured with aniseed. It is traditionally made in the Savoie region of France and for special occasions.
Onto more exciting food. En route from the French mountains to the UK we diverted via St. Omer, in the main to avoid Calais and the immigrant problem there. St Omer, is a pretty town, with some beautiful buildings but on a warm summers night in August, it reminded me of the Christmas poem. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse! And so it was thus in St. Omer. We had our doubts about our dinner reservation. But we were in for a big surprise. On a Thursday evening, it was quite full , service excellent and food wonderful.