I killed a couple Crayfish today… no I am not a natural born crayfish killer but I do think that the African in me did have something to do with me willing to brutally kill my food! However the story of my crayfish killing is not a secret trip to a crayfish pond in Paris but rather took place in my first cooking class…
That’s right, not only is little one attempting to learn the french language, understand the culture and perhaps fit in (although think the last one is proving to be impossible) I am now also having a go at the French cuisine and 3 traditional dishes with “pomme de terre” is not a bad way to start. Because of the Potato theme, I thought that perhaps we would learn to make killer french fries but once arriving there I quickly learnt that french fries are no more french than I am and infact the meals I would learn to cook names were “Gnocchi de pomme de terre au gorgonzola, Fricassée de pommes de terre nouvelles et homard, bisque mousseuse et Tourte feuilletée aux pommes de terre et champignons” that’s right, even after the lesson, I still don’t understand what the dishes are called.
There were only 2 people in the class, myself and a 42 year old pregnant french lady. Every time she said something to me that I didn’t understand i gave the standard french answer of “oui and a grunt”, it seemed to work as we got along well, if one can call conversations like that getting along.
The first thing the instructor did was open a cupboard and bring out a tub of live crayfish, this is when i realised that things would get very interesting. The pregnant lady started shrieking… The instructor then proceeded to explain to us that we needed to kill these creatures with a knife and not by putting them in water as we wanted to retain as much flavour as possible. The pregnant lady shrieked again as the instructor stabbed the crayfish in the middle and viciously cut down the spine. As it carried on moving, the pregnant lady carried on shrieking. I was handed me the knife and asked “d’accord?” and before she even heard my “oui” I had killed the next crayfish and it was dead, really dead, I stabbed and cut without a second thought. Still shrieking, the pregnant lady refused to kill her own Crayfish saying it was cruel and she was “unwanting”, she handed it over to me and bang hers was dead. The instructor stated “African, good killer”, I smiled, cleaned up the mess and threw the crayfish in a pot, and at last, once all the legs had stopped moving, the pregnant french woman kept quiet!
The rest of the lesson was great fun, I have increased my french vocab to include “cuisine” words…however I have now realised that I know the words in french but not English… so my language situation is getting more complicated my the day… I know the word and spelling in French, I do the action in African style but I pronounce with an English accent… no wonder anyone I come into contact with is confused… including myself!