(GK: Garrison Keillor; SS: Sue Scott: TR: Tim Russell, RD: Rich Dworsky)
(CAFE BOEUF THEME)
This portion of our show brought to you by the Cafe Boeuf, with your host, Maurice the maitre'd ---- Bon jour, Maurice. Bon jour.
TK: What about a barn? ---- This is not a barn, monsieur. This is a French restaurant. ----If you desire a barn, I suggest you go elsewhere. ----- (FRENCH HAUTEUR)
GK: It seems that I always get into trouble speaking French. Maurice, haven't seen you for awhile----
TK: I've been very busy, monsieur, creating the largest Fromage Carte in the Midwest.
GK: A Cheese Cart, huh. Interesting.
TK: No, no, no ---- please. Not "Cart". It's Cart-uh. A carte comes to your table, pushed by Andre, loaded with fine cheeses. A "cart" is pulled by oxen and carrying cow manure out of the barn. Surely you can see the difference.
GK: So you're now offering a variety of cheeses?
TK: A universe of cheese. Soft cheeses, hard, sweet, piquant----- the Pont l'Eveque, here is the Brie de Meaux, the Beaupre de Roybon, the Port Salut, the (GIBBERISH), and over here, a very rare bleu cheese, the (GIBBERISH) ---- over on this side you have several varieties of the (GIBBERISH), here the (GIBBERISH), and the (GIBBERISH) ----and so forth. All the cheese a person could want. As we would say, (FRENCH HAUTEUR).
GK: Well, that's great, Maurice. You have any Cheddar?
TK: What is that?
GK: A sort of sharp yellow cheese.
TK: Never heard of it.
GK: They make it in England and----
TK: Monsieur, what the English make is not cheese. Call it margarine, call it yogurt, it's not cheese.
GK: How about Swiss cheese?
TK: Monsieur, the Swiss do not make cheese. That is not cheese.
GK: How about provolone?
TK: Monsieur, why would a person want provolone if he could have (FRENCH GIBBERISH)? Tell me that.
GK: Maybe he just wants provolone.
TK: Then I would give him (FRENCH GIBBERISH) and he would never think of provolone again.
GK: Okay, but ---- trying to sell gourmet cheeses to St. Paulites, it's kind of a stretch.
TK: Why do you say this? As soon as they taste the cheeses, they will adore them.
GK: This is kind of a Colby and Monterey Jack kind of town, Maurice. Sales of Pont l'Eveque are not what I'd call encouraging.
TK: It's not Pont l'Eveque, monsieur----- it's Pont l'Eveque-----
GK: Fine, but people around here seem to prefer processed cheese. Velveeta.
TK: Velveeta? What is it? Velveeta?
GK: Here. Taste some.
GK: Velveeta, Maurice.
TK: (HE TASTES, VERY DELIBERATELY. A LITTLE CEREMONY OF TASTING SOUNDS)
GK: It's popular here. It's affordable, long-lasting, looks good ----- sort of the aluminum siding of cheese.
TK: People like it more than Pont l'Eveque?
GK: I'm afraid so. Yes.
TK: Why? Why do I go on trying to give people things that are of great quality and they don't appreciate them one little bit.
GK: Every school teacher has asked the same question thousands of times.
TK: Why do I do it? (FRENCH WEARINESS & EXASPERATION) Fromage is an art form, monsieur. It is playful, it is profound, it is mysterious and elegant. This cheese --- I would not feed it to a dog.
GK: Sorry, Maurice. We're a simple people. Have you met the governor?
TK: So--- my fromage carte was all for nothing. Just like
my Terrine Train and my Escargot-mobile. A noble failure.
GK: I'm afraid so. Unless you offered it to them first when they're really hungry. Put the carte before the hors d'oeuvres.
TK: It's only in America you eat cheese first. Cheese is a dessert.
GK: Could you maybe melt the cheese and pour it over things?
TK: Pour it over what?
TK: CRY OF PAIN
TK: GREATER PAIN
GK: How about novelty cheese? A cheese walleye. Or a cheese gopher. Maroon and gold. You could do Walter Mondale in cheese.
TK: Please, monsieur. Leave at once.
GK: A message from the Cafe Boeuf. Where the elite meet to greet and eat. An oasis of refinement out here on the tundra.
© Garrison Keillor 2002