Continuing a theme from yesterday, the legendary Jack Jolis, friend of NR and friend of mine, contributes the following:
Part of my late mother’s family is French, with some living just outside Paris. During “Dubya Dubya Two, the Big One” (as Archie Bunker liked to call it), my father, then a 1LT in the OSS, participated in the “Liberation of Paris” in August ’44. After things had settled down a bit, he set off one Sunday to seek those folks out, using previously issued instructions from my mother . . .
He eventually arrived in his jeep, laden with the usual GI goodies — coffee, cigarettes, chocolate, cans of Spam, nylons, and even, as an afterthought, a loaf of Wonder Bread that he’d cadged from OSS “special G-4.”
In the event, he was greeted with a huge fuss and hullabaloo by his hitherto-unknown extended family, and an ad hoc luncheon was organized in his honor, and to celebrate the general bonheur. At the end of this repast, there were toasts and speeches, and then at the end of those, the family matriarch, La Tante Henriette, came out from the kitchen and announced, “And now, for the pièce de résistance, we will have a slice of this most wonderful gâteau that le cousin d’Amérique has brought us!” — and, with that, she produced a platter with the unwrapped loaf of Wonder Bread splayed out upon it.
My father didn’t have the courage to tell them that it was not, in fact, a cake, and instead sheepishly joined in with the rest of them, eating his slice of Wonder Bread with a knife and fork, and joining in the chorus of “My, how marvelous!” “How delicious!” “It’s so light and airy!” and, “Oh la la! what a delicate, sophisticated taste!”
Man — talk about the greatest thing since sliced bread . . .