Monday, 28 July 2008

The last of the chickenmen

Yesterday was a sad day...The chickenman is no longer. I call him the chickenman only because I find it impossible to pronounce the volailler, French for chicken butcher. And he was the last in Lille (read the article here).

Poulet des Flandres is one of the great pleasures of food shopping. Suz and I would go at least once a week to pick up a free range roast chicken and some chicken sausages. Suz would get aexcited as we turned the corner and saw the big chicken billboard outside the store. "Ca cak," she'd say as we walked in. Felix and his wife Estelle always greeted us with a big, "chicken," (said with a heavy french accent), always had time to ask how we were and to give ballons to Suzanne. When we moved two months ago, we stopped going as often but they didn't forget us. Now they are on the "great vacation" as Felix told me on Friday.

Jerome would say I'm obsessed with the chickenman, but no, I'm just obsessed with the best poultry I've ever had. I really got so much pleasure from buying their chickens (even with the skinned rabbits in the refrigerator case).

So a moment of tribute to Felix and Estelle Vanhersecke, the last chicken butchers in Lille. I don't think I'll ever be able to replace their stuffed duck with orange or white pudding (boudin blanc) stuffed with carmelized apple and foie gras or even just a plain roast chicken.

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