How Do You Like Your Turkey?
MTM and I have a tradition. We do not spend family holidays with extended family. Thanksgiving always finds us in a random spot, scrounging for a repast that mimics the place. For Thanksgiving week, I will write a series of posts set in places we’ve visited to flee the obligatory family meal. Some fiction. Some true. A whole lotta gluttonous food.
The Musee d’Orsay stays open late on Thursdays. She planned her whole Thanksgiving trip to Paris around this fact. Who needed the decadence of French cuisine when one could gorge herself on Impressionism? Hours of wandering around a repurposed train station, feasting upon her favorite genre of painting, trying to decide where to take her next bite. An assured overload of the palate.
Maybe she would grab a croissant and a coffee in the museum cafeteria, the one behind the big illuminated clock. Pastry for Thanksgiving. The thought made her swipe a bit of drool from the corner of her mouth as she waited behind the barricade outside the storied building.
She waited. And she waited some more. She could smell the aura of the canvases wafting from the structure, could taste the moods and textures on her tongue. Ravenous for visuals, she was.
Her research into visiting France did not include their selective decisions to go on strike. For some mysterious, tres French reason, the museum workers were striking on the very Thanksgiving she decided to allot to her gastronomic feast of art. Inside, her organs rumbled, impatient. Her face was plastered in smiles, though. SHE would not be THAT American, the one who wanted everything yesterday. She smiled at the guard closest to her, hid her longing behind a facade of nonchalant cool. She refused to join her complaining compatriots, fixing her eyes on that guard, willing him to see her as worthy to gain admission to the table.
And, just like that, the guard motioned to her. TO HER. (She decided everyone else didn’t count.) He let her choose the first plate, queue at the beginning of the line for the buffet. Her mouth was overflowing with merci as she entered the empty galleries, her eyes competing for what to consume first. Every surface held something glorious, a tasty, delicious morsel of art.
There. Dindon ala Monet. The most fitting piece in the entire collection on this day. She couldn’t help herself.
An illicit photograph. To remember. To savor. To relive her first experience in Europe. A place of her dreams. A place she never thought she’d see.