Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Chez Fabulovna

After a recent post about a bistro-style dinner party, there were a number of comments which asked when I planned to open a restaurant, along with the suggestion that it be called "Fabulovna", after my alter ego. I found this all very amusing.

Then last night, during a production meeting about Here's the 80s JP asked, "Did you ever go to culinary school?"

I laughed.

"So where did you learn all that stuff about cooking?" he asked.

"Watching TV," I said. Which isn't the whole truth of course but it's part of it. I learned from Dame Judi, I took home ec classes in high school, I watched Graham Kerr and Julia Child. But mostly I just learned by doing. I like good food, so I learned how to make it. Pretty simple really. Add to that the fact that I live in a city full of good restaurants, that I had some spectacular meals in France and I was fortunate enough to marry someone who likes good food, cooks well himself and enjoys entertaining as much as I do and there you go.

But JP wasn't done. He'd been thinking about this. "Did you ever think about going to culinary school? Like in a few years when The Child is out of the house and you've got the time? Because you're half way there...it would be the easiest educational experience ever".

And I thought that was adorable. The man hasn't even eaten anything I've cooked. (Though he been promised fried okra with tomato marmalade someday). And here he was, based on a few pictures, telling me I should go to school, become a chef and open my own restaurant.

So I told him what I'm now going to tell you. Not. I've been in the restaurant business. It's grueling. A restaurant kitchen is the most stressful place on the planet. And I don't cook to get stressed out. I expect all the fun would be sucked out of it inside of a week.This is not to say that The Spouse and I haven't occasionally talked about it. He was in the restaurant biz for 10 years. We understand what we'd be getting into. Which is why the conversations never go very far. Forget about the astronomically high rate at which new restaurants fail. It's hard work. Hard work on evenings and weekends. We'd never entertain again. And we like entertaining. And so we quickly shelve ideas of prix fixe menus and return to planning parties.

There is one circumstance under which I'd open a restaurant. This involves falling into a bucket of money, so that we wouldn't actually have to make anything off the restaurant. And it also involves having a restaurant somewhere other than America. Because my idea of a perfect restaurant is like some of those I've read about in Peter Mayle's Provence books: an out of the way old house, run by a husband and wife...she cooks, he waits tables and pours wine. Or the other way around. And people go there for the food, they eat whatever the chef feels like making that day and they wait to be served. And they go away happy. The notion of cranking out 100 dinners a night for a bunch of people who are on their way to the theater, not so much.

But JP was stuck on the idea. "Well, what if you moved to Stars Hallow and the Dragonfly Inn was being sold and Sookie St. James didn't want to cook anymore because she had, like, a bazillion kids? Because then it could be exactly the sort of restaurant you want and you could cook all this beautiful food and buy excellent produce from um, from your husband who would start growing produce..."

"Because Jackson had to quit farming because he had, like, a bazillion kids".

"Exactly," he continued. "And so then I could move to Stars Hallow, too, and I could, um, play 80s videos and Sling could be the bartender (do you think he really was a bartender? Because some of those drink specials he comes up with are really exact. I mean, I've spent a lot of time in bars and all I know is 'Bud Light') but anyway, we could all live in Stars Hallow and war with Taylor all the time and it would be totally great".

And I promised him him that yes, if the Dragonfly Inn was suddenly available and Stars Hallow was a real place and we suddenly found ourselves living in the midst of "Gilmore girls" then sure, I'd have a restaurant.

And, by the way, should that ever happen tiaras will be mandatory at Chez Fabulovna.

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