...Continued from page 1

The highlight of today's meeting is learning what grits are. For a reason unknown to me I have always assumed grits were barley rendered into hard grains about the size of caviar, but somewhat less tasty.

"I like it for breakfast with a fried egg on top," Ramona says. "Or with red-eye gravy," she adds.

While the 'red-eye gravy' might not be for the breakfast version, neither lady can tell me what 'red-eye gravy' is exactly.

Dinny explains that grits are polenta, but "Not bleached," she says. I think, if I ever have grits I hope it - or is it they? - will not be bleached. I also think that if anybody ever offers me polenta for breakfast, I'll get out of it by saying I prefer grits. And cross my fingers there are none in the larder.

The 'Question of the Week' also concerns food. "What are," Ramona wants to know, "Lardons?"

She is curious about this French delicacy because she saw them mentioned on a menu, with the translation in English, as 'lardoons.'

"It might have been in British English," she says.

Yesssss, it may possibly have been. Goodness knows 'British English' can be quaint, with all of its borrowings from French since 1066 when the Normans went there in the mistaken belief that the climate was more clement than in Normandy.

Together Dinny and I try to explain what lardons are. I say they are bacon cubes - but Dinny thinks they are one of several different kinds of ham that I have never heard of. She might be right, but I still think they are bacon.

But maybe not. If you see French 'bacon' on a marché, from the price alone you would swear it must be some ham-based form of caviar, with a fat content appearing to be zero.

Anyway, I guess it is safe enough to propose lardons as the 'Food of the Week' even if we eatphoto: empty bottles nothing but water today. Getting all of this out, plus the subjects too boring to mention because I took no notes about them, takes until 30 minutes after the club meeting officially ends.

Afterwards, I show Ramona and Dinny how to use the crosswalk to get to the other side of the Quai du Louvre safely, so they can view the beach for the first time in their whole lives.

To prove we were not kidding you - all of the empty waters.

Luckily this is in a spot where some dime-sized spots of sand can be seen in the distance, so the reputation of 'Paris Plage' remains intact. Yes, readers and members, your very own clubhouse is within 30 metres of Paris' only 'beach' - 24 metres across the quay and six metres down, beside the edge of the Seine.

The Next Club Meeting

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 22. August. This will be a perfectly normal 34th Thursday in the year 2002 - with the day being named Saint-Fabrice, just like every other 22. August.

The never-changing paragraph which used to be here, is not a repeat of another paragraph above this week. nor is it a repeat of its own former self. Frankly, this is plain filler.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

To learn how to become a member you can look over the page called 'About the Café Metropole Club.' If you are reading this 'report' of today's club meeting, 'how-to-become-a-member' may not be perfectly clear.

'Club rules,' if any were still active - and none are - would suggest that if you feel like giving this 'About' page a pass - do so. All you really need to know is that you can become a member of this online magazine's live, free and real club in a wink by simply being at a meeting. Since this is all there is to it, I guess you can skip the 'About' page after all.

The Standard Details Concerning Meetings

Club meetings begin in Paris no sooner than 15:00 on Thursday and continue until 17:00, stillphoto: paris plage on Thursday, in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'ECETZ' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in worldwide areas without 24-whole-hour clocks.

Besides grass and real sand, 'Paris Plage' even features a token strip of real pebble beach - just like the Riviera.

The club's secretary will be listening to what you may say at the same time as he may be trying to concoct some 'report' notes, which might be completely different from anything your hear at a meeting. Please note your name, hometown, and your own email address in the members' booklet. The club's secretary is often incapable of remembering to ask you to do it.

Come equipped with a new 'Quote of the Week' or propose your hometown as 'City of the Week' - the secretary can't do this - or dream up any other 'Things of the Week.' 'No-names' is an option you can opt for too if you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet. Otherwise and in general, the only exception is 'no rules.'

Some things you say may be considered with due respect and will be appreciated by the other members present, if there are any and they are listening - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they read them - if they chance to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli, Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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