Sunday, December 20, 2009

“ L’homme blanc, cuit à point, a le gout de la banana mûre”.

Today is a great day. I have finally found the origin of a quote my father told me many, many years ago.

It is the culinary statement of a cannibal who points out that : ... “La chair des hommes blancs a le gout de banane mure... ”. This funny one-liner has followed me for years and I now found out that it comes from “ Le Mariage de Loti” or “Rarahu”, the autobiographical novel of Pierre Loti. The writer adds : This information was given to me by old chief Hoatoaru, from the Routoumah island, whose competence in this field is beyond discussion... ( dont la compétence en cette matière est indiscutable...)

These quotes form chapter XXXVI of the book with the apt title "Gastronomie"

Still the quote is not like I remember. We need the paraphrasing of journalist - writer Jean Duche ( another of my Dad's "maitres à penser" ) in his book l'Histoire du monde ( L'animal vertical p.34 ), who quotes Loti, but ads a culinary touch : " La chair de l'homme blanc, rôtie à point, ait le goût de la banane mûre". The French just cannot imagine that we would eat each other raw.

In my memory it is "cuit à point" which sounds better, but it might just be a matter of ... ( dare I say it ? ) ... taste ?