Friday, November 07, 2008

Et ça se fête

On my return to work on Thursday I threw a pot to celebrate Obama's victory.

A pot, an informal get-together involving alcoholic beverages, is one of those gems of vocabulary that you have to live on French soil to learn. At my office, alas, the most common pots are pots de départ which are organized when someone leaves the company. My colleagues have held pots to celebrate their new babies, and theoretically at least, new colleagues are supposed to throw a pot d'arrivé.

I, however, break with tradition and sometimes throw a pot just for the heck of it. A few years back I put together a Fourth of July pot complete with coleslaw, pasta salad, chocolate chip cookies and beer. When I do a pot I believe in doing it right, and forgo the usual chips, peanuts and cheese puffs to bring at least some real, homemade food. So when I announced many months before the election that if Obama's then-long shot victory became a reality I would put together a pot, my colleagues made sure I didn't forget my campaign promise.

I made brownies on Wednesday, carefully making sure to cut out a third of the sugar called for by the Joy of Cooking as I've learned the hard way that the French aren't nearly as sweet-toothed as Americans. I brought apples and mandarins, fancy appéritif crackers, dried fruit and nuts, and toast spread with fig-walnut cream cheese. Throughout the day on Thursday I spread the word, and by five o'clock I had a dozen people gathered around my desk.

I popped the cork on a bottle of Blanquette de Limoux, then liberally poured the sparkling wine into plastic cups. I had mentioned Champagne back in September, but decided that we were now in an economic crisis so I wouldn't spring for the expensive stuff after all. Maybe in 2012.

The brownies were a smash success, and my colleagues munched appreciatively as they listened to me explain the electoral college. Most understood the significance of what had taken place in the US at least as much as I do, half a world away. I was amused when many of them repeated in halting English, "Yes we can!" when they'd crossed me earlier in the day in the hallway.

"Yes we could!" I corrected.

Now that some of the post-election euphoria has worn off, however, I'm a little hesitant to use the past tense. I think the tough part is just beginning for Obama.

Let's just say I'm waiting in the wings for more reasons to celebrate.

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One of the lesser-known reasons to cheer an Obama victory is that I will no longer have to hear my colleagues make lame jokes about les frites McCain.

I vaguely remember that there is a company named McCain that makes frozen potato products in the US, but since I don't tend to buy frozen potato products, I never gave it much thought.

Apparently, however, the maker of oven-ready french fries is quite famous in France. They ran an ad campaign in the 1980s involving a cowboy and a logger. Both had grating American accents. I had to hear many an amateur imitation this year, and I did my best each time to pretend to laugh.

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We're off to Nice tomorrow to visit two of my husband's uncles and see a corner of France where I have so far never set foot. Tuesday is Armistice Day and a holiday here, so we're taking Monday off and coming back late on Wednesday. Just in case you all will miss me (ha!) I've set something short and funny to autopost on Monday morning.

1 comment:

Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

I had forgotten about McCain fries. I imagine that has been painful for you :-)
Enjoy your mini vacation!