Monday, August 25, 2008
It's 5:30pm and, per Gabby Hayes in some western I saw once, I'm a mite peckish... and so, being the author of a (giant/two-volume) book about Jean Gabin, I started to wonder: What were Jean Gabin's favorite foods?
I asked Corinne Marchal, webmaster of the Gabin Musee (Gabin Museum) in Meriel, France. Ms. Marchal visited Los Angeles in July, and she told me that Jean Gabin's favorite foods were:
-- beans prepared with mutton (apparently, this was his favorite dish);
-- pot-au-feu, which, for lowbrow people like me who aren't chefs, is a French boiled beef-and-vegetable plate, similar to America's favorite hearty gustable "stew," although unlike stew, the beef and vegetables (carrots, celery, turnips, leeks)are usually placed separately on the plate. When Gabin lived with Marlene Dietrich, in France and in the U.S., they apparently used to have a lot of fun preparing pot-au-feu together;
-- fish (he liked it a lot);
-- roquefort cheese, spread with butter and served with Worcester sauce (!);
-- gruyère cheese dipped in mustard (!!);
-- also, Jean Gabin liked to add red wine into his soup, which people of his generation sometimes did. In French, the act of adding wine into one's soup, to increase the flavor, is called "do chabrot."
But 'man' (aka, Gabin) doesn't live on bread (and mutton, and roquefort cheese, and wine-soup) alone. One has to be able to wash it all down with something, and the World's Coolest Movie Star was a big-time connoisseur of whiskey, annisette (a sweet liqueur), and a very dry/acidic white wine called 'gros plant;' not only did he love to consume this wine, which comes from Nantes, in western France's Loire River Valley, but he liked the name of it, because 'gros plant' reminded him of the cinematic term 'gros plan' which means 'close-up.'