Much like a cassoulet or braised meat for instance, I've been stewing over just how to write this post.
At a dinner party I threw in November, I'd invited a rather prominent French chef over to teach me how to properly prepare Sole Meuniere. To me at least, it didn't go well. It's amazing how people can either choose to inspire or simply dreadfully consume with their influence. I was deadened and devastated after this dinner--and the surprising thing was it had nothing to do with anything I cooked to accompany the entree of fish. I quickly learned the only thing more finicky than the French are French chefs. Let's see, among other things: he thought the kitchen in our beautiful apartment was too small; he didn't like the wine our guests had brought; he was allergic to the mussels in the soup I had made. He did like my terrine however. How terribly magnifique.
For me, the whole crux of the dinner fell apart with the extraordinarily expensive sole that Baby and I bought. When the Galloping Gaul arrived, after one look, he flung the sole on the counter like I had just handed him...well, a dead fish. Can we talk about utter gall? I had received an email from a member of his personnel of just what to purchase to prepare for the dinner: several pounds of sole, eviscerated, half with skin on and half with skin off. I called several of my friends in the know--what exactly does eviscerated mean? Filleted? Everyone agreed, and the careless, impudent girl working for customer service at Citarella couldn't get off the phone fast enough when I placed the order and checked back in several times. Clearly preferential to attitude over professionalism, she ended up causing me great frustration and regrettably I had relied on Citarella's overblown reputation and purported expertise. I just called them again the other day, simply unable to get over this transgression; I currently lie in wait for reparation of some sort.
A lesson in evisceration: when eviscerating a fish, the organs are removed but the bones stay in--and by the way, I've never encountered a recipe for Sole Meuniere where the bones are in question at all.
I felt like I had been eviscerated but as dining disasters do occur quite frequently, and despite the poor, unfortunate sole, that evening I managed to keep my spine, back straight.
At one point The Galloping Gaul made an apology to Baby for being so rude--he didn't apologize to me, even though I arranged the whole thing--and then proceeded to actually thank him for not having tossed him out on the street for his impertinence. I wish I had. As a supposed educator, what a lost opportunity to educate! The whole point of the evening was utterly lost. My ire still keeps me up at night, in fact right now.
I'm working through my anger. What is patently obvious: when you are a guest in someone's home, being rude or dismissive is impermissible and the worst dish imaginable. Bon appetit.
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