Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Labor Day Celebrations and Mystery Meat

This morning we got up late and went for breakfast in Joilliet. It was Labor Day in Canada so most businesses were closed, which strikes me as ridiculous. If there was a national holiday to celebrate cheese, you can bet there'd be cheese to eat. Easter eggs aren't conspicuous by their absence at Easter. So why on earth would nobody be celebrated Labor Day by, well, labouring?

I don't even require that they're out in the fields, digging ditches. Just opening their shops and selling me things I don't really need would be enough.

Still, I didn't let the lassitude of the Quebecois spoil my day. We went to a Greek-Italian place for breakfast, because that's the Canadian thing to do.

The other Canadian thing to do is to be surprisingly unspecific. On the menu there was a list of things for breakfast, with oeufs and croissants and bacon (is bacon such an incredible food that its name cannot be translated?) and all kinds of meat: ham, bacon, and ... "smoked meat". What sort of smoked meat? They'd been quite clear about what animal the other meats had been cut from. They'd also written the names in French, not English. What was so special about smoked meat that you didn't bother to mention whether it was from a cow or a pig? Or a horse? Or a frog? Or a cat? We didn't see many cats in Joilliet, after all.

And why would you tell us it was smoked meat en anglais? Do no Francophones eat smoked meat? Or did the restauranteurs believe that the only thing an Anglophone would want to eat would be smoked meat, and there's therefore no point translating the rest of the menu to English?

It points to a pretty low opinion of people who can't speak French; all they want to eat is meat that is smoked, and they don't care a jot for what sort of creature the meat originated from.

That's all sour grapes, because I don't eat meat; I ordered a blueberry crepe, and like a fool asked for it 'gros' instead of 'petite', which meant I got a foot long tube of custard and berries, with three fist-sized swirls of cream and cherries on top, and the whole thing soaked in chocolate sauce. I suppose it was a break from the constant sea of cheese...


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