French castle

Two Ignorant American Historians Eat Dinner in a French Castle

But, really, restaurants in castles — a brilliant strategic idea.

“Louis VIX held a party at Versailles — one of many in the summer of 1682. With nobles and the crème de la crème of society gathered, he clinked his delicate crystal flute and announced, ‘Let no Frenchman deny: Champagne is the gateway to Paradise!'”

“Wasn’t that Milton? I’m almost sure it was Milton.”

“No, no I don’t think so — Milton was the cheese guy.”

“The cheese guy?”

“Yes, like … the blue cheese. Milton cheese.”

“Oh yes, of course! Milton cheese. That’s good in pear salads. Isn’t that what we had earlier?”

“No I’m sorry, I think you mean Stilton—”

“It’s definitely Milton. But who puts pears in salads? No, no. Pears are for poaching.”

“No, dear, deer are for poaching.”

“You could hardly get a deer in a pot of wine big enough!”

“True. Imagine the amount of wine you’d need — boxes and boxes! Still, they must manage.”

“—um, as I was saying, Louis XIV was rather fond of Champagne, which is why it’s typically the inaugural wine of any summer fête here at the château.”

“I thought this was a restaurant.”

“Is summer fat different from fat in other seasons? How does it end up in Champagne?”

“No—fête as in party. And yes, this is a restaurant, it’s part of the château. That’s just the French word for castle.”

“I see. Do the French normally have restaurants in their castles?”

“That explains the Milton you greeted us with, eh boy?”

“No, no, the French don’t historically put restaurants in their castles, and it’s Stilton—”

“Oh terribly sorry, but how were we to know your name is Stilton? You never introduced yourself.”

“Still, novel idea. Can’t fend off those marauders on an empty stomach.”

“But is cheese really the best food for combat? I mean, if cramps hit while you’re knocking invaders off a wall, I’d think it would give the enemy an advantage.”

“Yes, but if they drank Champagne first to take the edge off then I imagine they wouldn’t notice the cramps as much.”

“True, true. Might affect their dexterity a bit, though, all that wine and cheese sloshing about.”

“Oh! Here’s a thought. Maybe they lured them in with Champagne and Milton and then attacked when the enemy was rolling on the floor drunk and aching from stomach cramps?”

“Clever. No one would see that coming. Start with a peace offering of cheese and wine — maybe even throw in some poached deer. Then, bam!”

“The ultimate outflanking. It’s a wonder Patton never tried it.”

“I think he was lactose intolerant. Also, he might have hated the French.”

“Brilliant tactical maneuver, this restaurant in castles bit, Stilton! It’s a wonder they didn’t use it during the revolution.”

“Well, they probably disagreed on which cheese to use. I think I read somewhere that started the uprising.”

“Cheese? Oh, yes, yes, that tracks — this Milton is exorbitant. What is it, Stilton, $10 an ounce? Only the royalty could afford that nonsense.”

“Yes, and my bet is the Jacobites wanted Cheddar. What was it the queen said? ‘Let them eat the Cheddar.'”

“Isn’t Cheddar English?”

“Oh, right, I’m sorry, should it be ‘Shédarre’?” Throw an accent in there and it’s French to a ‘t.'”

“Look, how about I leave you with the bottle and you can just enjoy while you admire the views of the valley, hmm?”

“Are you coming back? We’re getting more than Milton cheese and Champagne for dinner, surely.”

“Yes, yes of course I’ll be back. I’ll just give you a few moments to settle in.”

“Thank you, Stilton. You French are such wonderful hosts when you want to be.”

“Incomparable hospitality as long as it’s agreed upon, truly. Oh, look, dear — aren’t those Americans sitting on the other side of the restaurant?”

“Americans? How can you tell?”

“Looks as though they’ve ordered beer with mac and cheese. Damn Jacobites.”

“Mmm, mac and cheese. I do love it, though. We American adore our cheese, don’t we?”

“More than anyone, dear. More than anyone.”

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I’m tired
Grocery store aisle

I’m tired

Of waiting more, and then some more

Savior of us all
On the streets — Harrison Haines

Savior of us all

He shuffled cards on cardboard, pulled out kings over sixes

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