Some of you may have heard this one before. If you have, please bear with me. I think it bears repeating.
You know how the French have this amazing reputation for being the world's greatest gastronomes? You know the whole Michelin star thing is a French administered system? And you know how haughty the French can be about how superior is their cuisine compared to that of any other nation?
Well allow me to let you in on a little secret. They may talk a lot about the countless hours they spend every night, slaving over the stove to produce a meal sensation, but the truth is the entire nation is addicted to frozen food.
Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a little (who, moi? exaggerate? never!) -- maybe not the ENTIRE nation, but a good many of these food-obsessed Frenchies regularly eschew the fresh food markets and skulk into the frozen food emporium, Picard.
Picard is the friend of all single people. It's boil-in-the-bag, TV dinner heaven. Now, I know that in most other Western countries, TV dinners are about as apetitising as a bowl of gruel. But Picard has somehow come up with a winning formula to create GOURMET TV DINNERS.
I kid you not. Many's the time I have had guests coming for dinner and I've popped down to Picard and purchased three courses of ice-encased nosh, stuck it in the microwave or the oven and sat back and let the post-dinner compliments roll in.
In fact, when the Showgirl and I were courting (why don't people court any more? It's such a dignified practice -- everyone's so busy trying to bed one another, no one has time to court anymore --- but I digress ..) .. where was I?" Oh yeah - when the Showgirl and I were courting, I would invite her over to my place and present a gourmet meal. She used to think I was a god in the kitchen until she discovered my little frozen secret. At first, she was unconvinced about the whole "do your weekly shopping in a store full of freezers" concept. But now she's a convert. Not least because when you have an 11-month old, every second not spent looking after your child or otherwise performing household tasks such as cooking, is time you could be spending in bed. Asleep, people, asleep.
So - Picard. There it is. The great, dark, shameful secret lurking at the back of every Parisian's freezer.