Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

Vanessa Ross: Essay

Vanessa Ross

In all of my reminiscences about food. the one item most prominentin my memory is the frite sandwich. It is exactly as it sounds:a French-fry sandwich. A baguette, the length of my arm, had beensliced down the middle and thick “frites” or French-frieswere put inside. A HOT pepper sauce smothered the innards of thesandwich to the extent that talking soon became a difficulty.It was a sinful experience to dig my teeth into this greasy manifestationand feel minute dribbles of fat slide down my chin. The crustflaked everywhere, as with any fresh baguette, and somehow crumbsmanaged to migrate down my shirt where they remained all evening.I think I was almost moaning and groaning in ecstasy as the sandwichbegan 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 nothingbut starches. The French seem to regard fruits and vegetableswith the same contempt that they view Americans. This, the fritesandwich, was the epitome of common Frech cuisine: starch andgrease. A second factor in this was the drenching rain that causedme to seek out warmth. The hot pepper sauce beckoned me wantonlyand promised me more than earthly delights if I partook in hertasting. The smell of fresh baked bread wore down my defenseslike an experienced used car salesman. The coup de gras,however, was that it was the only shop open for blocks. I hadhappened 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 hotterthan hell.) The next day heaven was no more; I felt like I wasgoing to blow fireballs and was afraid I would combust in themiddle of Notre Dame. I thought the ages would use me as an exampleof God punishing the hedonist. So perished the thought of evereating one of those sandwiches again.

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