I have a confession to make. A confession and an apology, in that order.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a red-blooded heterosexual bloke. Like many of my kind, a pretty cleavage can reduce me to a tongue-lolling drooling fool.
When I say ‘cleavage’ I mean the feminine kind with a scrap of hard-working lace and not Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s beef bosoms or a builder’s low-belted butt.
But if ever I were to experiment with my sexuality, the one thing that might tempt me would be Michelle Roux junior saying the words “artichaux barigoules”.
I have absolutely no idea why this phrase should have such an impact on me. Maybe it’s the sauciness of the French language, the exoticness of artichokes or the mystery of exactly who or what a barigoule is. Or perhaps it’s the way Michel wraps his tongue every so precisely around every vowel and consonant.
In the Once household, this has become part of our television bingo game. We exult every time we hear someone say “artichokes barigoules”. And it is worth double points if Michel himself is saying it. And treble points if he says “artichaux” instead of “artichokes”.
It is nearly enough to make a bloke renounce his heterosexuality. Nearly.
It would not work so well if we asked a female television chef to say the same phrase. Nigella is at her most plumptious when she is whipping cream into peaks. Dominatrix Delia excels when she tells us what she likes to do with a naughty ingredient. But neither of them have got that certain Frenchness that you need for a good artichaux barigoules.
Naturally, we have never eaten artichokes barigoules. But isn’t that the point of culinary pornography? We watch television chefs cooking things which we would never dare attempt in our own kitchens. It’s a bit like buying a fitness magazine as a way of losing weight. Waddya mean, I’m supposed to follow the diets and do the exercise? Isn’t it enough that I bought the magazine?
Sometimes when my long-suffering wife asks me what I would like for supper, I like to quip “A pan fried fillet of John Dory with artichaux barigoules”. How she laughs! Okay, sometimes she gives a wry tolerant smile. And then we have cod in batter, oven chips and frozen peas. If we are feeling really cosmopolitan, we might squidge on a little tartar/ tartare sauce. Or as we like to call it “sauce tartare à la Waitrose”.
So when I was writing a blog about cookery and pornography, I simply had to season it with a reference to the aforementioned artichoke dish. When we think of the connection between sex and cooking, there is a little space in the boudoir that Michel Roux junior has made all his own.
I noticed a curious thing a few hours after posting the blog. One visitor to the blog had got there via a search engine. They were looking for “Michel Roux filet de Saint Pierre”.
And that gives me two weird images.
In the first image, I can see a keen amateur chef reaching for google because they want to know how to cook the dish. Maybe they are looking for a new recipe to try. Perhaps it’s a dish for a special occasion. They might even be a contestant on Masterchef or another cookery programme.
What they are probably not expecting to find is a blog about cookery and pornography. I wonder if they stayed awhile and read some of the other mad blogs. Or did they flick away immediately to a more productive google search?
The other possibility is that the person doing the searching was another Michel Roux addict. They weren’t looking for a recipe. All they wanted was to hear Michel say those seductive words. Like me, they simply needed their fix.
And so, a confession and an apology. I confess that I have a secret artichaux barigoules fetish. And I apologise most sincerely if you have stumbled upon that confession while looking for the recipe.