La Gadoue – Jane Birkin

"La Gadoue” is one of my favorites from the album Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique, which features orchestral versions of songs from Serge Gainsbourg's early career. Here, they're composed by Nobuyuki Nakajima, performed by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and sung by the iconic Jane Birkin, who–if you're unaware–was at one time Serge's collaborator and former partner. 

I looked up the English translation to this song's lyrics and discovered that it's about two lovers splashing about in the mud. The arrangement sounds magical! You can just imagine all the fun they're having in their rubber boots with the rain pouring down on them. Jane's girlish voice captures the delightful feeling of this moment beautifully. It’s one of those songs that makes you smile and feel nostalgic for a bygone time.

A Case For the Lowbrow

"Bonjour! Voilà, le French hat; voilà, le french fry!" says Carrie Bradshaw, surprising Mr. Big with a McDonald's dinner.

This is really terrible to admit, but I have a dirty secret: Sometimes I like adding a spot of Coffeemate's hazelnut-flavored coffee creamer to my coffee in the morning, which totally makes me feel like a suburban soccer mom. And it's actually really bad for you–it's not even made from real milk or cream–but I weirdly enjoy how it turns my cup of joe into a dessert-like treat. 

I also love Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, plain and simple. I keep a stash of them in the pantry for sick days, for when I don't feel like cooking, or for whenever I'm craving a bit of nostalgia. A friend once recommended that I try Progresso instead for the heftier chunks of chicken and vegetables, but I could never. Campbell's soft bloated noodles, swimming in a salty, yellow-tinged broth, touches my heart in a way no other canned soup can.

"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika," Diana Vreeland said, "We all need a splash of bad taste–it's hearty, it's healthy, it's physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I'm against." I wholeheartedly agree. When things are too curated or hoity-toity, it lacks a certain verve. There's no life-force, no energy, no vibes. It doesn't feel real. That little splash of bad taste is the key ingredient to your special sauce. 

My friend Bill was shocked when I told him that, if I were to eat fast food, I'd indubitably choose McDonald's over In-N-Out.

"I don't get the fuss over In-N-Out," I said, as we were strolling along Santa Monica Boulevard, "I honestly think it's overrated. Their fries are terrible! McDonald's fries taste so much better."

"But In-N-Out uses fresh ingredients," he pointed out.

"OK but, brand-wise, McDonald's is chicer. It's more couture. Trust me."

"But the whole point of In-N-Out is that you can customize your order."

"But their menu is so limited. At McDonald's, I can get a McChicken sandwich–or the Filet O' Fish!"

"I can't believe you're saying this."

"But it's true! If I'm going to be downing thousands of calories, I'm going with McDonald's. It's the Chanel of the fast food world."

 

 

Pumpkin Pie

Sigh. I love fall, I really do. It's my absolute favorite time of the year. For me, it's September that feels like the start of a brand-new year, not January. Leaves may be drifting off of trees, but that first chill after a hot summer is something of an awakening. I pull out my sweaters from storage with glee and I go crazy at the sight of pumpkin pie at the grocery store.

A slice of pumpkin pie is the equivalent of Proust's madeleine for me–it reminds me of Thanksgiving with my family, though I can't seem to recall any one Thanksgiving specifically. It's as though all of my memories have coagulated into a creamy-smooth pumpkin custard. One taste contains many years' worth of gatherings. Oh, I can just hear the loud chattering now... And the shrieks of laughter from all of the little kids running around!

Instead of whipped cream, I prefer putting a dollop of whipped sour cream onto my pumpkin pie. Yes, you read that right–sour cream. I find that whipped cream makes it too sweet and I like pumpkin pie precisely because it's not too sweet. A latte with a sprinkle of cinnamon goes nicely with it, or you could do with a hot ginger or chai tea.