Free Man

Common Dolphins
Common Dolphins

I am often being asked the question. “What do you miss most about home?” Especially when one has like me “Nationalité Française” printed on his passport; they automatically assume it is food. I was recently over, two weeks ago in fact and as I was about to enter the car deck of Brittany Ferries’ “Pont Aven”, I asked myself the same question. Could it be the “Joie de vivre”, that Anglophile cliché that I can never recall coming out of a compatriot’s mouth? I don’t think so. And frankly, when you look at the head of certain people I know, let me tell you, there ain’t no joy of anything, or maybe the “joie de complaining” about everything.

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Momo’s Carbo

They say that Carbonara was designed to feed Italian coal miners… “The black faces”. I don’t know if it’s true, but if I was a coal miner, I am sure I would wolf it down after a day down below. So yes, like a lot of legendary dishes, there are a lot of speculations about one of the most cooked pasta recipes in the world. All I know is that it is the first dish I cooked, it has evolved since and sometimes I add extra bits, it has also saved my life a few times, a dish that should be at the final exam of any leaving Certificates… Here is my father’s recipe, one I tend to follow…

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Spaghetti

Carbonara
Carbonara

September 1991, it was a beautiful morning over the Breton Capital. I had left behind the hills of Glenveagh National Park, my first real summer job, for another, scarier adventure: independence and freedom. So long mother and father, I am 18 now and your evil powers have no effect on me anymore… Cutting at last the proverbial umbilical cord, living the dream! I was meeting my olf friend “The Hero” in the Ozone Bar, two years older, kinda wiser too; he felt that it was his duty, as a big brother figure, to welcome and show me the ropes, places to hang out and other music venues to be part of. “You are staying with us until you get sorted, you hear?” His statement came as a relief, I hadn’t planned that far, and sure, I knew Rennes, very well even, but only as a child with the eyes of innocence. I was a man now see, free in the big city at last! I quickly finished my skinny glass of Maes Pils and followed my compadre toward the giant spaceship like building that was the Judiciary precinct; “Galion Street”, my new quarter, my new home… And how appropriately named for my new voyage!

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Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes from Kells
Green tomatoes

I have a customer who comes in our shop; often on a Friday, sporadically on a Thursday. No matter where the conversation drifts, as it often does in our “philanthropic” business, she always speaks about her favourite movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” as a point of reference to everything. I have tried to invite her toward the route of different flicks that matters to me, “The Deer Hunter”, “ Paris, Texas”, “ Harold and Maude” or even “ Blade Runner” but without success… I guess some movies get stuck in your head, the same way the film featuring fried green tomatoes got stuck in mine when it was released in the early 90’s. The thing is, I’ve never done anything about it…

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Leeks Vinaigrette

Leeks and poached egg vinaigrette
Leeks and poached egg vinaigrette

Well apart from our National anthems, Bro Gozh ma Zadoù (Old Land of My Fathers) and Hen Wlad fy Nhadau (Land of my Fathers), Breton and Welsh also share a love for the auld leek. My rare Breton name, meaning “The Lanky” appears for the first time in 1641 in Ergué-Armel near Quimper… Some say that we might have come from “The land of song”, like a lot of other aborigines from Ireland and England who made their way across to Brittany for a new life since the 5th century.

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