Vanessa Ross

In all of my reminiscences about food. the one item most prominent in my memory is the frite sandwich. It is exactly as it sounds: a French-fry sandwich. A baguette, the length of my arm, had been sliced down the middle and thick "frites" or French-fries were put inside. A HOT pepper sauce smothered the innards of the sandwich to the extent that talking soon became a difficulty. It was a sinful experience to dig my teeth into this greasy manifestation and feel minute dribbles of fat slide down my chin. The crust flaked everywhere, as with any fresh baguette, and somehow crumbs managed to migrate down my shirt where they remained all evening. I think I was almost moaning and groaning in ecstasy as the sandwich began to nestle itself in my duodenum.

I still ask myself why I was so drawn to this artery clogger. The only explanation I could come up with was that I was in France. For a period of three weeks, my diet had consisted of nothing but starches. The French seem to regard fruits and vegetables with the same contempt that they view Americans. This, the frite sandwich, was the epitome of common Frech cuisine: starch and grease. A second factor in this was the drenching rain that caused me to seek out warmth. The hot pepper sauce beckoned me wantonly and promised me more than earthly delights if I partook in her tasting. The smell of fresh baked bread wore down my defenses like an experienced used car salesman. The coup de gras, however, was that it was the only shop open for blocks. I had happened to come to Paris when the French themselves were on vacation.

So gratefully, I munched, smacked, and chewed my way to heaven. (The pepper sauce further indicated to me that heaven was hotter than hell.) The next day heaven was no more; I felt like I was going to blow fireballs and was afraid I would combust in the middle of Notre Dame. I thought the ages would use me as an example of God punishing the hedonist. So perished the thought of ever eating one of those sandwiches again.

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