Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sympathy Labour

During Tanya’s pregnancy I read a lot about husbands who become so involved in their wife’s labour that they develop sympathy symptoms - morning sickness, swollen legs and in extreme cases false labour. All I can say is that at the time of Elodie’s birth I was a little too busy and excited but this week I got there in the end and here is how it happened.

There I was sitting happily in the Sunday sunshine looking down at one of my favourite French dishes. Now there are three main ways that restaurants tend to serve Steack Tartare. Firstly, the minced steak is presented in the centre of the plate, upturned egg in its shell on top and the various condiments - capers, onions, herbs, sauce etc.. - around the side. This method tends to be favoured by cheaper restaurants as it involves little or no effort on their part.

Secondly the waiter arrives at the table and asks for your preference - spicy or not - and then mixes the Steack Tartare in front of you.

Thirdly and this is what I had on Sunday the preparation is done in the kitchen. The ensemble that arrived was magnifique. Rather than the cheaper minced steak I could see that my dish had been entirely chopped by hand into the finest slivers. On top were two soft boiled quails eggs. I couldn’t have been happier. Sun shining, Saint Remy de Provence, delicious food, all good.

One day later my opinion of steack tartare had changed considerably. I was bent double in our kitchen, head on the table, arms cradling my head, groaning in agony as my whole body was convulsed by yet another wracking pain. And the funny thing about these pains was - if pains can be funny - they disappeared as quickly as they came, re-appearing every five minutes or so. In the lucid, agony free moments, I quite reasonably suggested to Tanya that what I was experiencing was akin to labour.

She looked at me with icy unsympathetic eyes and then simply walked away.

I still think it was a perfectly reasonable suggestion - oyster poisoning is meant to be one of the most painful things in the world, and so why not Steack Tartare poisoning. Anyway the delay in this weekly blog is partly explained by food poisoning and partly by the ensuing rows.

Bon App!