Monday, 15 February 2010

Fat Tuesday

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, when traditionally we are supposed to use up all our leftovers before Lent. The days leading up to Mardi Gras are 'carnival' or 'carne vale', meaning 'goodbye to meat'. There is never any meat at The Underground Restaurant but we love pancakes and crepes, however we rarely get around to cooking them.
Being so close to Valentines day, I decided to make tomorrow night's event an anti-valentines meal, a singles night, entitled 'Fuck Valentines, let's eat pancakes'. Last year I did an aphrodisiac meal but I'm still single and not in the mood. It's amazing how people, well let's be frank, mostly women, become depressed on Valentine's day. It's a reminder of failure if you are single. Even my teenage daughter got upset because she got no cards "I'll never get a boyfriend". She's only 15!
But for this singles night, there is a problem; not many men booked. In fact the ratio right now is about five women to every man. O lucky men! My poor girls...I had such visions of being a matchmaker or shadchan (Jewish marriage broker).
What is wrong with men? is it a London thing? a British thing? Was French prime minister Edith Cresson correct when she said that one in four Englishmen were gay because they didn't take any notice of her?

“I remember from strolling about in London that men in the streets don’t look at you. When you do this in Paris, men look at you,” the notoriously frumpy premier told the Observer newspaper.
“Anglo-Saxons are not interested in women as women,” she continued, “For a woman arriving in an Anglo-Saxon country, it is astonishing. She says to herself, ‘What is the matter?’ It is a problem of education and I consider it something of a weakness. A man who isn’t interested in women is in some way a little maimed,” she claimed.
She was ridiculed at the time, and it certainly didn't do anything for Anglo-French diplomacy but did she have a point? I know so many gorgeous intelligent nice women who can't get a man. It does feel like British men are more interested in beer and football than women.

The menu

French sparkling cider

Buckwheat galettes with
  • melted cheese and garlic mushrooms
  • Goldstein's smoked salmon and creme fraiche
Green salad with walnut oil, walnuts

Cheese board

Dessert crepes with
  • lemon and sugar
  • Nutella
  • maple syrup
Crepes are a traditional Breton repast and in France are often sold on the street, one of the rare snack foods allowed between meals. But some form of pancake is common to most countries from the tortilla in Mexico to the Bánh xèo in Vietnam.


  1. Sounds like a delicious menu and your post has struck a chord - I agree with you on this issue. Just Saturday night I was with my Canadian friend and she was saying herself that trying to find a man in this country is so hard but she reckoned if she was back in her homeland she would have no problem. To highlight the issue we were approached by a swedish and columbian man that evening but no brits... It is rather depressing that the British man has lost the language of love... xxx

  2. Yesterday -Sunday, I asked my(single)daughter(aged 28)if she received any Valentine Cards, she said no, but that it was Sunday after all, and hoped there may be at least one in the post this Monday morning from a great friend of hers.
    He is one of the "one in four Englishmen who is gay"

  3. The tortilla in Mexico, generally in Latin America, is only made with cornmeal and water. There is a variation with wheat flour instead of cornmeal, but their unique ingredients are cornmeal (or wheat flour) and water. In this respect are tortillas rather a type of bread than pancakes!
    Good luck tomorrow! Maybe there are some men who dare to book in the next hours!

  4. Ms Marmite Lover, I have just e-mailed every single single male friend I have in the hopes of helping out. One would think that the 5:1 ratio would appeal to some guys out there somewhere...

  5. If I hadn't been working yesterday I would have celebrated the lunar new year instead. No pancakes for me tomorrow either as I'm working all day and night...

    In New Zealand a single woman my age has as much chance of meeting a single man as a single woman in her 80s. I thought my chances would be better here but... no.

  6. Well, I never knew about the goodbye meat bit- that's quite interesting! Regarded Valentines as stupid, pointless day of commercial exploitation through many years of singledom, and haven't changed that view much even though I seem to have a male person hanging around now. I might try and cook a small section of your menu for dinner tomorrow, and hope it all goes well even if you are under-bloked.

  7. Beer & football? What are they?

    Hope you evened it up a little.

    Maybe there should be a special day in the year when you can celebrate singledom - it's got so much going for it!

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. I think everybody loves reminds us of childhood and holidays in France.
    The Singles bit didn't go so well but the food was good!
    Tortilla is really a bread but a flat flour, water, milk or egg combo seems to be a basic in most cuisines...the easiest 'bread' to make.


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