This fable is inspired by Sarah’s choice for dinner at Left Bank last week.


Once upon a time, long, long ago (actually 1971), in a country far, far away (actually Canada) two people named Mary and John took a trip to Montreal.

“I will wine and dine you and we shall have a fine time,” said John gallantly. “I shall practice speaking French and you will be greatly impressed.”

“I will be greatly impressed with you regardless of your French speaking,” admitted Mary, because she was mightily smitten.

So off they went to a superior restaurant to eat French food and gaze into each other’s eyes.

“Let us try this dish,” John suggested. “From my vast knowledge of French I know that ris de veau means some sort of veal.”

“Ooh, I love veal and I love it when you speak French,” Mary exclaimed with great admiration.

When the dinner arrived, the veal was covered in white sauce. They each tasted a morsel.

“What type of veal do you think this is?” asked Mary. She was sure John would know due to his vast knowledge of French. “It doesn’t quite have the texture of meat.”

“Uh oh,” thought John. “Could it be something other than veal meat? I shall use my great memory to try to remember what ris means.”

So he thought and thought and thought some more while they nibbled at the dinner. Finally he dredged an old word out of his memory.

“Alas,” he ventured, “I think that perhaps ris means brains.”

Whereupon, using his vast knowledge of French, John asked for l’addition (the bill) and they left.

The moral of this story is 1) don’t trust your high school French, 2) things sound better in French than they taste, 3) love may be blind but its other senses are working.

Note: As it turns out the veal was sweetbreads and not brains.

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