Visiting the Foodchain

photo, blondes have more fun, salon de l'agriculture One of the blondes at the salon.

The Beautiful Cow Show

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 12. March:–  We are going to have to face it. This winter has seen the worst skiing, the least rain, the lousiest and least snow, the rottenest skating, a terrible lack of slipping and sliding and a host of other winter–related lacks, such as nightfall in the daytime and freezing to death on outside train platforms. We are just going to have to put up with premature spring.

Extravaganzzzzzzza of Sunbeams

Tonight's TV–news, sports and weather was so laid back tonight that the young guy on France–2 appeared without his tie again, giving us that casual dash that is so easily achieved by wearing a pinstripe suit with a shirt with racing stripes. It was so springlike!

This morning the sun topped the horizon behind the Fondation Cartier over on Raspail at 7:15 and then it travelled across the sky all day until it sleepily flopped behind those towers around Montparnasse about 18:45. While it was doing this the temperature climbed up to a solid 16 degrees. It was so sweet.

photo, planteur punch, martinique Not all are freebies, but then...

Monsieur Laurent started off by saying that we are laboring under the influence of a big strong H, sitting offshore somewhere over the Bay of Biscay. Tomorrow, on Tuesday, this will cause some light fog close to the ground here and there, but hardly none in Paris. Instead it will probably be sunny here all day. If it isn't 16 degrees at 14:15 in the Tuileries you should ask for your money back.

Wednesday will be the same so long as you don't mind looking at the sky between the extremely small–sized baby clouds. The temperature forecast calls for only 14 degrees so if you feel like sulking, be my guest. Thursday will be, if it happens, just plain sunny all day long except in parts of France not so blessed, but they aren't near here. The thermometre creeps back up to 15 degrees so you can quit the pout, and be in the Luxembourg at 14:14 in order to get a good chair.

From across the ocean, where winter is apparently continuing, we are informed. Wave our arms and hands, clear the smoke, and here's Météo Jim, with his daring... prediction?

Freezing Parade in Sight

An unnatural earliness descended upon Pommeland this morning. Pommelanders were forced to set their clocks ahead 1 hour three weeks earlier than what they had been accustomed to. To make matters worse, this enlightenment will remain in place into early November, in a vain and futile attempt to regulate darkness and its allies of night, shadow and sleep.

photo, wall of jars of honeyA wall of jars of honey.

In Pommeland, for those who have seen Metropole's daring film Ceux qui m'aime regarderont la météo were not surprised by the vagaries of the weather for the past week. On Tuesday the temperature was 22 degrees below normal with highs around 20 degrees. Wednesday saw another coating of snow – about 2 a–inches – and slightly higher temperatures.The week slowly warmed up to the upper 30s by Friday. Saturday and Sunday saw clouds but highs in the low 50s.

For the coming week temperatures will rise to about 60 a–grad by Wednesday but then rain will visit Pommeland along with cooler weather. This coming Saturday will mark one of the year's great events, the St. Patrick's Day Parade in La Grosse O'Pomme. The temperature will be about 40 a–grad and extremely green. The sun will take its cue from Dr. Seuss and become green eggs and ham. As usual, the weather will do what is predicted until it does something else that is a fable.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Café Life

Visiting the Foodchain

Due to domestic water–management issues, this number of Metropole is a bit late. Maybe you already know. Anyhow, this week features a couple of excursions along the foodchain – first to the Beautiful Cow Salon and then with a great deal of personal sacrifice, a dawn raid on the Paris' distribution market at Rungis.

The Beautiful Cow Show

Wednesday, 7. March:– About 600,000 farm fans went to see their food on the hoof during the Salon de l'Agriculture and most of them entered by the main gate with its towers and colorful flags flying. Foreigners with a passport can enter down the block, chat up some young folks in 88 languages, and get in free. But let me say it is worth it no matter what it costs.

You may not believe that it is very exciting to be standing in front of the big main hall, but there was a frisson of anticipation all the same. The smell just inside the doors – the smell! Damp, pungent, earthy, humid – it was a wow for the nose. For the eyes it was something too, cows in repose right there. Combed, sleek, lounging on fresh hay, at home in their holiday–in–Paris ease.

photo, gros cochon dormant A big, fast asleep, pig.

The big show ring used to be front and centre in the big hall but for this year it was moved off to a far and gloomy corner, leaving the beeves in the place of honor, graced with more light than I have ever seen in there. There were cows all over, all colors, in all sizes from big to huge. There were a lot of people too, ranging in size from babies to huge.

With the show ring in the far western corner there were cattle drives through the hall, through the crowds, accompanied by musicians, mostly wearing Basque berets. What hoopla! Cowboys and some cowgirls herding cows. A mob of folks would suddenly part and a 1200–kilo walking steak would come barging past. Watch your toes!

In addition to all the models of French beef, there were exampes from Britain, Spain, Switzerland and Germany. These all had distinctive names, none of which I bothered to note. I was looking for the most expressive beast, the cow of the year. But there were too many contenders, all too beautiful for words, so I will not waste any. There was a meat planet and champions of taste, and thousands of drooling Parisians.

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