MFK Fisher eats tripes a la mode de Caen in Dijon

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The small restaurant is gone now but for a long time it served some of the simplest and lustiest meals I have ever eaten… There were always snails, of course, except in very hot weather, and in the cool months oysters out on the sidewalks in kelpy baskets, and both downed by the dozens. There was the classic green salad to scour the maw, and a good plain tart of seasonal fruits if one could still face it. I remember some cheeses in the winter. And then there were sealed casseroles of tripes a la mode de Caen véritable.

These casseroles, for two or six or eight people, seemed to possess the inexplicable cachet of a numbered duck at the Tour d’Argent, or a perfect octahedral diamond from Kimberley. They were unsealed at the table. The vapour hissed out, and the whole dish seethed. Plates were too hot to touch bare-handed, to keep the sauce from turning as gluey as a good ox would need it to be at a temperature suited to his own digestion. It was served with soup spoons as well as knives and forks, and plenty of crusty bread lay alongside. It was a fine experience.

MFK Fisher (1908-1992), From the New Yorker, 1968