Our show is brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf with your host, Maurice the maitre'd. Bonjour, Maurice.
TK: You're not sure about what?
GK: Never mind. What are the specials tonight, Maurice?
TK: Specials! Ha! (SARDONIC FRENCH GIBBERISH) Specials! You Americans. You are like children! You want we should entice you to eat ----. Why can't you eat like men, monsieur? A man does not need specials. A man says what he wants and he expects to get it. Okay?
TK: What do you wish tonight, monsieur? What does your heart crave? What do you hunger for??
GK: I want beef.
TK: Excellent choice. (FRENCH CHUCKLING AS HE WRITES DOWN ORDER)
GK: I'd like it very rare, so that the inside of the beef is dark red and cool to the touch. And bleeding.
TK: You are a brave man, monsieur. I salute you! (HE KISSES HIM TWICE ON EACH CHEEK) (FRENCH GIBBERISH, IN SALUTE) A boeuf, extra rare. France is proud of you. Here. A cigarette.
GK: I don't smoke.
TK: A pity. I'll smoke it for you. (STRIKES MATCH, INHALES DEEPLY, EXHALES. HEAVY COUGHING) Don't worry. I'm fine. No problem. (COUGHS. SUDDEN RECOVERY) What else?
GK: I want potatoes.
TK: Excellent. Excellent!
GK: French fried potatoes.
TK: Monsieur, all of the potatoes at the Cafe ---- these are all French potatoes---no?
TK: So if we fry them, they are French fried potatoes, and if we boil them, they are French boiled potatoes, and if we mash them, they are French mashed potatoes----- no?
GK: Yes, of course.
TK: It is not necessary to refer to them as French----
TK: They already are French. This is assumed.
GK: Of course.
TK: The potatoes do not need your recognition in order to be French potatoes----
TK: They are well aware of it themselves.
GK: I'm sure.
TK: They go proudly to the stove.
TK: You wish fried potatoes----
GK: Yes, please.
TK: What else?
GK: A vegetable.
TK: What kind?
GK: I don't care. What do you have?
TK: What do you want?
GK: It doesn't matter. Anything. Brussels sprouts.
TK: We don't carry those. Please. Something else----
TK: Don't have carrots. Too----- (DISMISSIVE FRENCH)
TK: Non, non, non....not with beef. It would insult the beef.
TK: No good this time of year. (DISDAINFUL FRENCH)
TK: I don't want to watch you try to eat them.
TK: Not with red meat, no.
GK: How about parsnips, or rutabaga?
TK: Monsieur, be serious.
TK: We have only American asparagus. No good. (DISDAINFUL FRENCH)
TK: You want onions?
TK: Onions with potatoes? is this a German restaurant? eh?? is my name Heinrich?? is it? am I wearing lederhosen, my friend? is this a tuba in my hand??? is it???
GK: Sorry. How about corn?
TK: Out of season.
TK: (FRENCH DISGUST)
GK: Sorry. Maybe some kind of---- okra?
TK: Never heard of it.
GK: How about--- beans?
TK: Beans? (HE CONSIDERS THIS) No, I don't think so.
GK: Or squash.
TK: Squash is not French, monsieur.
GK: How about----
TK: How about peas, monsieur?
TK: Peas, then?
GK: Peas are fine.
TK: Are you sure?
GK: Of course.
TK: I don't want to push you into this choice.
GK: It's fine. Peas.
TK: If there's something you'd rather have, just say.
GK: Please. Peas are fine.
TK: I don't wish to coerce you. That is not my way. Liberte'! That is our motto.
GK: I want peas.
TK: Very well. Peas it is then. I'll be right back. (FOOTSTEPS OFF)
GK: A message from the Cafe Boeuf. The home of good eaters, of heroism, of passion, of (KNOWING FRENCH LAUGH)---- (PLAYOFF)
©1998 Garrison Keillor