Café Boeuf
Saturday, February 23, 2002
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(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell, FN: Fred Newman; RD: Rich Dworsky)

GK:…… this portion of our show brought to you by the Café Boeuf Iowa, with your host, Antoine the maitre 'd-----

TR (FRENCH): Pardon, monsieur. That is not EYE-o-wah. It is Ee-o-WAH.

GK: Ee-o-WAH.

TR: Non, non, non. Ee-o-wah.

GK: That's what I said. Ee-o-wah. It's a French name?

TR: Yes, of course. This was part of New France for many years, monsieur. The city of Des Moines, the city of the Sioux, the Rapids of the Cedar. And then, out of pure resentment, the Americans named a town for a city of French shame and defeat.

GK: Waterloo.

TR: (WEEPS) Exactement. What an insult. I will never get over it. Never.

GK: And the city we're in now? What we know as Ames?

TR: Am-EZ. Oui. It is the past perfect of the word for "friends". It means "friends you liked more many years ago."

GK: Well, I'm sure there's a story there. What's on at the Café Boeuf, Antoine?

TR: At the Café Boeuf Ee-o-WA, we celebrate the splendors of pork. A pantheon of pork. An unpleasant animal, but lovely dinnertime companion. We have the pork LWAN, and the pork LWAN with prunes ---- or pork au go go ----we have pork chops...the cha-cha chops with cheese melt ---- the chutney chops, the pepper prosciutto pork with Portobello pesto ---- served with potato popovers----

GK: Do you serve fish, too?.

TR: Oui, monsieur. We have the catfish, of course. And now we have the pig fish. Also known as the butt fish.

GK: And this is a whitefish?

TR: A Chester White fish, yes.

GK: And it's like a catfish----

TR: Oui. Except the portions are much bigger----

GK: Because it's a big butt fish.

TR: Oui. A very big butt fish. Shaped like a pear. Like a fish in stretch pants.

GK: How about pork barbecue?

TR: Pork what?

GK: Barbecue. You grill it over hot coals. It's very popular. Gives the pork a smoky flavor that people like. And it also gives men a chance to build fires and wear humorous aprons.

TR: Prepare meat over coal? Perhaps Monsieur is thinking of a blacksmith.

GK: No, you put the pork on a grill.

TR: From a Pontiac or Chevrolet?

GK: Just a wire cooking grill. And you squirt on your favorite sauce from a squirt bottle.

TR: A squirt bottle. (DISDAIN) We don't squirt in the kitchen. There is never any squirting You are talking about children's games, squirting. Fine cooking is not a party, monsieur. It is a serious business. We braise, we marinate, we do not squirt. There is no squirting in the kitchen. (FRENCH GIBBERISH OF DISGUST)

GK: I don't know why I always wind up irritating you. -----A message from the Café Boeuf Iowa.

TR (OFF): Ee-oh-wah!

© Garrison Keillor 2002

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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