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I recently received photographs, via computer, from my friend in France which I found amazing. They are pictures of Paris in bloom. Lots of beautiful flowers but something else. It looked as if the artist Christo who covers places in gorgeous nylon material with spectacular results, or, I thought, many two man nylon pup tents stacked right next to each other on the river banks.
Right on the money or the Euro as the case might be. These were shelters for the homeless. They are a beautiful color red and look like an exotic flower either planted or painted. Incredible. I was reminded of something I read in my Larousse Gastronomique. Which is the cookbook edition in the Larousse encyclopedia. It is a mighty volume, weighs over ten pounds. For every entry there's a huge section devoted to the history of the dish selected, the history of the ingredients, and about a dozen ways to cook the dish. In the section devoted to sauces, for which the French are noted it said that some of France's most famous sauces were developed in the 17th or 18th centuries in order to disguise bad meat. After all, there wasn't any refrigeration so one had to do something.
I pointed out to my friend that I was not being critical when I made this observation it was just that the whole thing struck me as being very French. Like buying a Paris hat to cover a bad haircut. Goodness knows, I'm not a French basher like those people a while back who didn't want anyone to order French fries with their hamburgers. I never could figure out what else to call them.
I no sooner stopped thinking about this than another communication from Europe jolted me. This was in the form of a magazine article. Let me preface this by stating that I am very proud to claim that I have never been scammed. Well, pride hath gone before a very big fall on my face this week. For years, I've been a very big user of olive oil, in just about all its forms, for cooking, bathing and shampooing to name a few. I never really paid attention to the fact that it all came from Italy but I was very careful to pay the extra money to buy virgin olive oil and recently, very virgin olive oil without having the slightest idea what that means. It just sounds pure and rare.
Imagine my fury when I discovered that the production and exportation of so called olive oil to the United States, is the biggest racket in Italy. There are several phoney substitutes including hazel nut oil and soy oil but no olives, now or ever.
There was a long list of companies involved and I'm sure I've bought their products one and all. There's only one exception and no one will ever see it except those few and special clients who purchase it.
So there you are - I've been scammed big time. So I can shrug as I spread my hazelnut margarine on my bread but how about all those people I've been shoving so called olive oil at for ages? All I've been is a front man for the mob.
My son wants to know, “how about the hog bristle brush I just sent to Adele for her birthday because it's all you've ever used and it does wonders for your hair?”
What do I suppose the brush is made of? Probably porcupine quills.
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