|Mackerel + Cracker = Happy Cat|
When rushing around the entire Champagne region trying not to be egregiously late to the appointments I’d painstakingly set up weeks in advance, eating on the go was paramount to maintaining one’s good humor … and to padding one’s stomach enough to maintain a clear head between multiple visits and tastings. Even though I sucked and spit dutifully through each dégustation (tasting), it’s impossible not to absorb some alcohol. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you!
So, stocking up on supplies in the supermarket was an economical and convenient way to have munitions for the daily journey. In combination with visits to the local boulangerie in whichever village we happened to be in for a toasty baguette and pain au chocolat or fougasse, a perfect on-the-go meal or snack could be had. (By the way, I found out that another meaning of fougasse is an improvised landmine. Good heavens. Give me the bread version any day!)
The surprise winner for me was a tasty treat that some may balk at: Chunks of canned mackerel filet swimming in tomato basil sauce, over Wasa crackers (baked rye crackers) or ripped-off pieces of fresh baguette. The fishy scent alone may put some off, but I absolutely loved it! I would wake up in the morning, looking forward to dipping crusty crackers into the gooey, red fishiness. I kid you not.
As Saupiquet, the maker of the canned mackerel filet I ate, says, “Laissez-vous séduire par les filets de maquereaux Saupiquet en sauce” - “Let yourself be seduced by Saupiquet mackerel filets in sauce” … That’s a tall order for canned fish, but I was summarily seduced.
(Check out this hilarious 47 second video of several rugged looking men dressed as various fish and crustaceans, going out to sea. “Who says that fish have to be sad?” the video asks us. Huh?! Nonetheless, I was vastly amused.)
I tried to find a suitable substitute after coming home to the US, but the closest I’ve gotten is canned sardines in tomato sauce. It’s tough to find canned mackerel, and if I find it, it’s in sunflower oil or olive oil.
And, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I searched for “canned mackerel” online and all the shopping results came back with descriptions beginning with, “Treat your cat to a meal of …” Only cats are privileged enough to eat canned mackerel in the US? Cripes!
|Jean-Lou says: "My fish are fresh and wild, and Saupiquet knows how to prepare them divinely.|
And, I know where they come from!"
It’s a good opportunity to try different flavors, but I confess, I miss my mackerel in tomato basil sauce. I also find myself craving a fresh baguette every day. Happily, it is fairly easy to find baguettes in one’s local supermarket in the US.
For those Stateside who are leery of eating bread that isn’t whole wheat, the Observatoire du Pain in France recommends a daily consumption of ⅔ to ¾ a baguette de tradition française for women, and ¾ for men. This is courtesy of the Observatoire’s study on the nutrition of French breads. Seriously, there is an entity devoted to the scientific study of France’s breads. Although, we probably don’t need a report to tell us it’s okay to be eating baguettes regularly - the French have been doing so for eons, after all.
And what is the result of this research for me? Now I want to eat a baguette, each freshly torn piece daintily topped with morsels of Saupiquet Filets de Maquereaux sauce tomate et basilic. Sigh!