Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gabriel Gateau and the importance of je ne sais quoi

Those were the days, my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day - Eugene Raskin

Paté escargots soup de jour
cordon bleu chic coiffure
fait accompli maison
crème de menthe Marcel Marceau
meringue blancmange Bardot
gauche gay Paris garçon - "The French Song", Greg Champion

There used to be a man, a chef in fact - long before the days of the Cooking Channel, "Master Chef" and Scott Conant - called Gabriel Gaté. I used to listen to him wax lyrical about the virtues of the French, on Radio Australia. In fact he's still around - I just googled him. Gabriel Gaté. Apparently he was awarded "La Croix de Chevalier dans L’Ordre du Merite Agricole" in 2000. Wonders will never cease.

I used to call Monsieur Gaté, Gabriel Cake - well, Gabriel Gateau - because quite simply, he annoyed the hell out of me. I just couldn't hack his French accent, because I thought - and I still do - that he was putting it on. Anyone who pronounces "cabbage" as "cab-arge" after living in Australia for over a hundred years, just has to be fake.

Those were the days. When I lived in Australia, I used to listen to Greg Champion and the "The Coodabeen Champions" every Saturday morning. They had a footie show on the radio. Not that I knew or know anything about footie, but the Coodabeens could make anything funny.

American Cuisine, Michigan
In those days I actually listened to the radio. Now, in America, I've just never gotten the hang of it. The channel numbers I mean. And "FM" and "AM" - are they even meaningful here? All I know about American radio is that there's some awful guy called Rush Limbaugh on it, which is enough to turn anyone left of Genghis Khan right off.

Rush Limbaugh or Gabriel Gateau. Who is worse? Reminds me of when my son was little and he'd keep coming up with silly questions like, "Who would win? A dog with one eye or a rabbit with a broken leg?" And, "Who would win? A cat with three legs or a monkey with the measles?" I didn't know then and I still don't.

Even worse was when my daughter of the time asked me to send her to France so that she could "get a French accent".

Humor. There's nothing like it to keep one sane. And even though I am 12,000 miles away from some of the funniest people in the world, here in America humor is alive and well.

In a few weeks I'm going to see my new idols - Larry David and Susie Essman, from the excellent comedy series, "Curb Your Enthusiasm". They, along with their co-star Jeff Garlin are appearing at the 92nd Street Y, to celebrate the launch of the eighth season of the show. I can hardly wait.

So who is funnier, Greg Champion or Larry David? Greg Champion with a broken leg, or Susie Essman with chicken pox? Scott Conant eating raw red onions or Gabriel Gateau at the Tour de France hosting the "Taste Le Tour"?

Stay tuned ....


Ian said...

If you go online to on a Saturday morning at 11 Melb time you should be able to listen online to the Coodabeens -they are still strutting their stuff

Vanessa said...

I used to watch Graham Kerr, the "Galloping Gourmet" on TV when I was little. He was British and after he made the meal, he would invite an audience member to come up to the table and eat it with him.

Anwsers to questions:

AM Radio is a Mono broadcast signal
FM Radio is a Stereo broadcast signal.

The Dog would win.
The Cat would win.

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