Tuesday, October 12, 2010

St. Picard

Ahh, October in Paris. The open market stalls are filling up with seasonal produce from the harvest. A little nip in the air makes La Mom long to do some French comfort food home cooking.

In her microwave.

What? You didn’t know that le frozen exists in France? Well, let me fill you in on every Parisienne’s kitchen secret.

Picard. Actually, it's more like St. Picard.

I think there’s a little shrine to St. Picard in St. Sulpice church tucked away in a forgotten corner (yeah, they’re renovating it – but you should find it if you look hard enough). All I know is that thousands of French women get down on their knees every night to thank the patron saint of surgelé.

Urban legend has it that St. Picard was a Parisian city dweller in the 1960s. On a visit to America, he was appalled by the proliferation of frozen TV dinners. Carefully preserved writings of St. Picard quoted him as saying, “C’est de la merde!

Back on his native soil, however, he had a divine vision. A vision of the best French recipes lovingly prepared and then captured in ice – until a Frenchwoman brought them to back to life in her kitchen.

And threw some parsley sprigs on it for color before serving.

Tartiflette. Courgettes farcies. Sauté de veau avec sauce aux pleurottes.

Hell (oops !), even macarons.

If you haven’t yet tried St. Picard, I urge you to find out what He can do for you.

And in your darkest hour, when there’s nothing in your pantry but ketchup, pasta, and foie gras, I invite you to invoke the following prayer:

Oh glorious St. Picard,
Patron of all things delicious and glacée,
Deliver us from another night of leftover poulet rôti or Speed Rabbit Pizza.
I implore thee to speed a tasty, nutritious French meal to my loved ones
And divert the glances of my Husband and Belle-Mère from the cardboard boxes in the recycling bin.
Come to my assistance in my great need and I promise thee that I will take the Cordon Bleu course that my Husband offered me a s a gift last Christmas, in order to spread the Gospel of French cuisine.

Amen.

21 comments:

vicki archer said...

Nothing quite like...St Picard.....a real 'saviour'...xv

Sweet Freak said...

I can't even tell you how much I've heard the Frenchies—even the staunchest, most traditional and proper of the lot—GUSH about Picard. Picard, Picard, Picard - c'est vrai... they love it! Guilty pleasure??

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Glorious story with proper respect to the secret Saint.

The trick is that you do not want a freezer stuffed with Picard boxes or la Belle-mère will know for sure!

Kiki said...

It is actually on the sightseeing list when family is visitng from the states. They will drool for two hours walking up and down each aisle and then spend the rest of the trip figuring out how to get some goodies into their suitcases to bring back home. All without defrosting during the 7 hour flight. Trader Joe's has got nothing on St. Picard!

Nathalie said...

So true! My mum is an addict. I live in Provence though and I still swear by fresh produce from our markets.

Parisienne a NY said...

Oh, I miss Picard sooooooo much, it might even make me move back to Paris some day. Nothing compares to Picard in the USA, so sad. Enjoy greve day by the way!! ;)

Kiki said...

ah, the delights of frozen cuisine. i'm reminded of one of my fave scenes in National Lampoon's European Vacation where Clark and his family are dining at a french restaurant, and then we're in the kitchen where the chefs are pulling meals out of the microwave and placing a little french flag on top of the dish. classic! take care, La Mom.

La Mom-an American Mom in Paris said...

@Kiki Wow, you give La Mom ideas for the next trip home. Who needs a tired old bottle of champagne as a gift when I could break out a slightly defrosted chocolate meringue?

Scarlet O´Hara said...

Ohhh!! I am so sad to learn he is a Saint!! I am IN LOVE with whom I thought was Mister Picard and was secretly hoping to have a torrid affair with him every night while my husand and three children (under the age of four) enjoyed their poelee de legumes...
oh well, I´ll have to learn how to pray...

Anonymous said...

Slightly defrosted chocolate meringue? I don't know how high those jets fly but it sure is cold up there. So, stuff your suitcase with lots of Picard's goodies when you fly home, La Mom. Luv your blog! Maria O. Russell

Deja Pseu said...

On our last Paris trip, we made a quick pass through "St." Picard. We were surprised and impressed. Wish we had the equivalent here!

Sara Louise said...

I have no idea how it is possible, but it took me almost a year of living here before I discovered Picard! I love it! I love it! I love it! So many wonderful treats to try

nmaha said...

Yes, please divert their glances from the cardboard boxes.

L.R. M-J said...

Here in la campagne, when away from our Paris pied-a-terre, it's the only place I can get my beloved edemame beans--unfortunately the concurance in these parts is a poor copy-Thierry something or other--but I go out of my way for St. Picard-oh oui! :)

Brenna said...

I just found your blog, and love it! I am living in Verdun, must come to Paris soon :)
http://fabuleuxdestinbrenna.wordpress.com/

Vicki said...

You are just hilarous! I have a cousin in Paris and she never told me about this! Maybe she doesn't know? Will tell her to start praying...

Beadboard UpCountry said...

St Picard......I know it would be wonderful made in France......Our shop has been busy I am spinning many plates these days..So I apologize for not commenting recently. And your blog is one of the omost uplifting ones out there! When we were in Paris we stopped at Fredy Giraudet and got some quenelles.....And lobster sauce....They weren't frozen but in a town where everything fried is LA Mode. Quenelles?????? Lucky you for living, learning, and loving in Paris. xo
Maryanne

Erica- HiP Paris said...

I have to say, I snobbed Picard until it was given to me under the guise of home cooking. When I found out the meal I just ate was all Picard, I was a convert and have been ever since. They even have a 'bio' (organic) line of food. And quite reasonably priced! Bon appetit to all.

Michelle E said...

After 8 years in France, my French hubby and I moved back to the US 6 years ago. One of the things I miss THE MOST is my local Picard!!!
Pâtes Carbonara, quiche, puree de carrottes, pain au chocolat...I could go on and on. *sigh* They need to open stores in the US.
Michelle

Julia Browne said...

Good Lord, but yes! Rented an apart in Paris in July, stocked up at Picard with great anticipation of past pleasures, got back to the place and discovered the microwave didn't work...
Well, at least the official Picard apron I brought back is constant consolation.

The Duchess said...

Amen, sister! Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and Picard makes it that little bit easier....
And oh, no, please don't tell me that Speed Rabbit Pizza is a national chain? I was sure a name that bad could only be a local thing....

 

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