pain relief…



Street furniture, as a term, is an oxymoron: as a manifestation, an abhorrence. It can, however, be amusing as in the plethora of pavement situated wind driven spinning signs which are as unpleasing to the eye as are the small piles of vomit that so often decorate their heavy bases. These spore are clear signs that, if nothing else, they have been put to good use as leaning posts by drunks, anxious to avoid the overload of lager and chips falling directly onto their shoes. One would have imagined that in a high wind, which is not unusual in Northern Europe, their aerodynamic design would spin the weakened wassailer like a compost spreader thus eliminating those unsightly piles at the base. This is sadly not the case but that failing could be solved by more wind or less lager: a matter of wind over matter.

Although the main purveyor of European street furniture appears to be a French concern, it does not take long to notice that the villages of France are not home to their wares nor to realise that the absence of pavements in those villages would entail the carefully designed furniture becoming literally true to its name by being sited in the street itself which would  be a challenge, if not a hazard, to the dozen or so cars that pass through each day. However, where there’s a way there’s a spinning sign and for the most part they are, ironically, drawing our attention to the ubiquitous availability in France of PAIN. With such an appetite for PAIN it was no wonder Gilles de Rais and the Marquis de Sade flourished yet how much safer from prosecution would they have been had they carried out their nefarious activities in a boulangerie: no fear of a latter day Brussels bureaucrat fining them for inaccurate description of their wares as long as the PAIN sign was madly spinning in the forecourt.  The French love PAIN and they like it on a daily basis; twice a day is ideal and, in order to satisfy that lust for PAIN, ” Dieu créa la baguette”. A brilliant piece of baking ingenuity, the baguette stays fresh for half a day meaning that the baker sells his bread twice a day. No market gets commoner than this.


The pain that I have been enjoying today is pain cereale; a thick slice of which I toasted under the grill. Once toasted, the pain is left to cool a bit, letting the surface becomes crisp in order that it will act as a grater when it is rubbed with a clove of fresh garlic and then with a chunk of fresh tomato over which is then drizzled some olive oil. This pain not for the faint hearted, but then again, what pain is?


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, baking, Baking, Boulangerie, bread, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Humour, Olive oil, Photography, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to pain relief…

  1. jmcheney says:

    Bonjour Roger, Souvent I see through a pane darkly, but with persistence, ere long, I see & I’m enlightened & toujours delightened with your Abouts Food, & Photos & Dear Old Douce, herself. Merci encore mille fois. J. in North Carolina

  2. Mad Dog says:

    Pa(in) amb tomàquet, as the Catalans say 😉

  3. This is great – I can totally ‘get into that.’ Most days my lunch consists of some dark toasted bread, rubbed garlic, tomatoes and shaved Romano, or something like that. Unfortunately I can not lay my hands on really tasty tomatoes so that I could get away with rubbing it on, like you did. Olive oil is another obstacle – I think I have finally gotten to where I am in fact buying virgin olive oil and not some clever mixture of cheap oils – the taste, of course, is another matter. When we lived in Florence I became convinced that the really good stuff actually never even made it to the stores there! I think in the US the best bet is actually extra virgin organic from California.

  4. Love it. I’m going to make that for breakfast. Possibly with some marinated white anchovies 🙌

  5. Francesca says:

    I have a window cleaner who calls is business ‘Pane Relief” . You are teasing me with those hints of summer.

  6. ardysez says:

    The photos of your pain, much more pleasurable than the description of ‘street furniture’. I will never be able to walk down a street again without fear of, well…. you know. 🙂

  7. Eha says:

    The rather vivid description in your first paragraph kind’of makes it uncertain whether one’s palate is ready for the tasty end suggestion 🙂 !

  8. pain cereal is one of my favorites kind of pain. Maybe the pain I feel this morning – from severe lack of sleep – could be helped by this crusty piece of grilled bread.

  9. catterel says:

    I was so entranced by the image of a vomiting inebriate tied to a wildly revolving sign that I had to pause and recuperate before resuming reading. Oh that bread and oil! I really need to get back to France.

  10. So acurate, so painfully honest. Bon appetit!

  11. Andy Szpuk says:

    I’ve also seen this as a recipe from Spain, as a way of using up an excess of tomatoes, and it is wonderful, very easy way of constructing something very tasty – however, the resulting garlic breath is eye watering.
    The notion that street furniture is an oxymoron made me smile – we were in Southwell on Saturday, a very Conservative, well kept village, with a cathedral and we saw some great Morris dancers – not the usual twee affair but big fellas all in black, with their faces also blackened hurling themselves around while a motley orchestra of accordions and percussions accompanied. Brilliant.
    But when we wandered up to the market area there was a dilapidated circular steel bench, peeling, rusting, splattered with bird shit and other fluids. We didn’t stop,

  12. One of my favorite ways to experience pain, this recipe.

  13. From the title of your post I thought you are talking about pain relief, as a medication to relieve pain, so immediately I felt sorry for you. Until I remembered the little leftovers of my little French, that pain in French, means bread. What an awesome awakening to your delicious pain relief !!!

  14. Conor Bofin says:

    Sadly, the Saturday morning trip into our local shopping area is punctuated with the avoidance of pavement pizza. We once had the delight of seeing a crow dining on one. Since then, we look out for the Pizza Crow as a sign rather than seeking out the actual spillages. It is slightly less distressing. You gotta love that crow!
    On a less bile inducing note, I love that pain.

  15. My favourite breakfast…and this did make me chuckle as we returned to Spain and there is outrage int he local village as they Mayor had been given some money from the Junta of Andalucia and in his “inifinite wisdom” spent it on massive concrete planters which are now placed all around the village so no one can park their cars (no pavements, just streets). The Peasants will soon be revolting 😉

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