As anyone who reads my blogs will know, I am infatuated with France and all things French.
One of the things about France that has intrigued me for years is something known as the French paradox. The paradox being why is it the French who consume considerable amounts of saturated fat and drink large quantities of wine, have a far lower incidence of coronary heart disease than in most countries.
Furthermore the French smoke more than is the case for a lot of western countries and yet they live longer.
There are lots of theories put forward by experts, the French eat less processed food, less sugar, more fish. They drink red wine in particular, more fresh food is consumed, they eat smaller meals and take longer to eat them and so on.
This is evidenced with the population of our commune, people really live long lives, well into their nineties and they are quite often still sprightly and fit. Of course most have had agricultural jobs and are used to heavy work.
Which brings me to The mechoui or village sheep roast which we enjoyed the other Sunday afternoon.
I have probably said this before but I do not mind saying it again, when I dreamt of living in France I always had visions of living in the countryside where the locals on high days and holidays would select a field and assemble long trellis tables and we would all get together in the sunshine at lunchtime and eat home made pork rillettes and sausages, spicy merguez or thick juicy herby ones and frites and drink copious quantities of wine, I have to say I have been lucky to have been part of this kind of get together many times in the nearly 6 years of living here. October 10th will be our 6th anniversary so look out for a very special instalment.
So it was that Mrs. Powerfulpierre, myself and our good friends Mike and Sue made our way to the Salle de fete which is part of the Marie or town hall. It was 12.30 when we arrived and due to the weather not being quite good enough to eat outdoors, the tables were laid inside.
As always the frivolities began wih kir, sparkling white wine with cassis, then came sausages as a sort of nibbles, spicey merguez which I think are flavoured with harissa which is a north African hot red paste or sauce and is made from red chillies and garlic.
Next up was the melon and port and these guys are to say the least generous with the port.
Now by this time things get a bit blurry, the wine is going down a treat and I think more sausages appeared at this point, chipolatas, followed by the palate cleanser in the delicious and drunken form of a Truoo Normand, apple sorbet drenched with home made calvados which must have been at least 70 proof.
Then came the lamb and chips, and these come in three waves, yes you munch your way through three courses effectively starting with bones to Gnaw on, then better pieces and so on. This is not for the feint hearted.
Next up was the cheese course, a very nice Camembert and then dessert, chocolate ice cream a juicy pear then coffee and dark after dinner chocolate.
What an afternoon, the food was unsophisticated and rural but absolutely delicious nevertheless, just as you would expect as the people who are serving us are farmers or farmers wives. The wine was highly drinkable and the company brilliant.
At 5.50 pm we staggered from our table, this is an all time record, 5 hours 20 minutes of eating, drinking and socialising and both me and Mrs Powerfulpierre were totally inebriated. Thankfully Sue had somehow managed to avoid drinking altogether and drove us home.
As I write this I compare our exploit to the French paradox and it all seems to make sense.