Fiona Alderman: Blogging from Rural France – The cat that got the cream
The famous couturier Karl Lagerfeld died in February at aged 85. His equally famous Burmese cat named Choupette is looking to inherit supposedly a vast chunk of money. However, there are strict laws leaving money to pets after death in France,but as Lagerfeld was German then it could be allowed.
With over 200 million Euros left in his estate this beloved cat is surely going to be able to continue her lavish lifestyle of daily caviar, chicken pate and travelling on private jets? I even heard of a private maid for her? Ooh la la!
Apparently she was originally owned by a friend of his and when he asked if Lagerfeld could look after her for a little while the love began. He refused to give Choupette back to her owner. Completely besotted by this beautiful cat he said they “communicated through their eyes”.
Now after her “daddy’s” death this cat has its own Facebook Page and an Instagram account with 260,000 followers with a blog called Choupette’s Diary. She is the subject of several books and also an incredible marketing vehicle with an online shop selling t shirts and mugs as a tribute to the designer. Weird but true. I think the proceeds are going to charity.
A last word about Lagerfeld, whose unique look, both elegant and stark, would take over from Coco Chanel as a veritable genius of haute couture. He drew his designs every morning, always with Choupette at his side. What a team.
La Mère Poulard
As you probably know by now I am a complete Francophone ie loving all things French.I was given a pretty tin of biscuits recently by a French friend and I noticed that it was from Mont- St-Michel the historic castle in the middle of an island in Normandy.
I already know the biscuits, round galettes, a little bit like shortbread, but the whole story around Mère Poulard who was the chef there is a whole fascinating story.
Born in 1851,the young Annette with just a bare education would work as a maid where she met her future husband Victor Poulard who was the son of a baker. Their love affair would last for over 60 years.They would open their restaurant and later an Inn, called Hotel Lion D’Or and where Annette began creating quick and delicious recipes using the fresh produce around the bay of the Mont St Michel. It was there that the famous omelette Poulard was born.Using plenty of quality butter and eggs that weren’t allowed to take colour, the omelette was cooked over a woodfire and had a puffy shape. She had a secret recipe that would be left to her family after her death.
Always busy in her kitchen, she hardly left the Mount, preferring to listen to her guests and travel through them. After the Liberation of France she would welcome British royals, artists, film stars and writers such as Ernest Hemingway who would report on the events after the Normandy landings. General Patton himself dined at her table as did Picasso, Monet, Chanel, Dior and Edith Piaf.
A good business woman, firm even with these great names, she refused the King of Belgium to take his meal outside, instead he had to do as everyone else and eat on the second floor of the hotel.
A flourishing hotel and restaurant that continues today. She received the highest honour in French cuisine as a female chef ie Mere Poulard. For her 1888 was a magical year, containing 3 figures of 8, a symbol of Mont St Michel founded in the 8th century and a sign of good luck. She named these biscuits mes portes bonheurs ie my lucky charms.
The famous omelettes are still being served at around 40 euros. It is a once in a lifetime experience I think?
Three Grey Domes
I am all for recycling, but here in Salignac there have been a flood of new rubbish bins appearing under plastic wraps with publicity constantly through the door for several months . At the moment we have black and separate yellow plastic bags to dispose our rubbish and we put these in big containers just down the road.There is also another one for glass. Fairly simple we think.We sort things like paper and magazines too in another container.
We noticed new bins being installed and now our old ones will disappear to be replaced with a different system.
We have been given a new fancy carrier bag which is for packets, tins and paper which must then be taken to the new bins and physically put in one by one! The other annoyance is that they are closing the places we normally use and there will be one at the Mairie which is a good walk up the hill. We have a car but what about the elderly people who can’t get out at all?
The publicity in itself is confusing but in French terms, more so! Another thing is we have to put all our vegetable peelings and garden rubbish into compost which we must do at home. We shall see.
All was due to start at the beginning of this month but as usual there will be delays to what they call Simplifier la Vie ie simplify your life. Maybe not?
That’s all for this month.And maybe Brexit? That won’t be simple.
Fifi’s stories from rural France.
www.salignacfoundation.com dance and film courses in SW France.
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