Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Shirley Mitchell

The Dinner Party 

The highlight of Vivienne’s week was her invitation to the Mayor of Siorac’s dinner party. Her friend had appraised her of rituals to be observed and the honour bestowed upon the new inmate of the French village.
The evening came.
There was the excitement of the Ceremonial Greeting – a kiss on each cheek – one extra for close relationships. Then the settling of the guests, like nestling hens, in to their evening places.
The hum of conversation became a melody only to be broken by the arrival of the entré – a delicious paté de compagne accompanied by a basket of soft fresh baguette.
Following a traditional pause for conversation – the pièce de résistance arrived – Merles aux Marrons! To Vivienne’s horror – a row of Blackbirds were resting on a bed of chestnuts! As pencil marks on a fresh page, small claws pointed upwards, while dainty beaks placed with military precision turned in unison towards a rapt and appreciative audience.
All must be consumed with delight and pleasure; politeness required an empty plate wiped clean with bread.
‘Oh horrors, what shall I do with the beaks and claws?’ Vivienne cried out inwardly. Around her, silence – except for the crunching and scrunching of the tiny beaks and loud gulps of swallowing claws. She felt sick!
Suddenly Vivienne felt the cold nose of the hotelier’s hunting dog nuzzling against her knee. An idea exploded like a firework. She coughed delicately, allowing the offending beaks and claws to pass behind her hand downwards under the table, unnoticed, except by a slobbering and grateful recipient.
Then, an angelic expression of complete innocence stole across Vivienne’s face. Now in concert with the rest of the party, Vivienne too made pleasurable crunchy, scrunchy noises with her teeth. She smacked her lips and raised her third glass of mature Bordeaux wine to her new friends and wiped her plate clean with bread.
She had passed the gourmet test!

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.