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Saudi Gazette, Thursday, September 20, 2018





N a Saturday morn-

ing in September

in the Normandy

countryside a group

of men and women

gather for an ancient French initia-

tion ceremony.

The merry band bustling about

in colorful robes and hats, with

oversized medallions hanging

around their necks, could be per-

formers in a Shakespeare troupe,

members of a medieval guild,

maybe even druids.

But the glazed pot perched on

the top table in the hall in Bagnoles

de l’Orne — laden with symbol-

ism like the potion-filled cauldron

in the Asterix comics — gives the

game away.

Those gathered are elders in

the area’s gastronomic “confre-

ries” or brotherhoods, there for the

annual general meeting of an order

set up, in this instance, to promote

the culinary delights of the lining

of a cow’s stomach.

Placing their right hands on the

pot, its two newest members, Ar-

lette Allix, 70, who used to work in

communications, and her 71-year-

old husband Christian swear to

become ambassadors for tripe —

specifically the famous skewered

tripe of nearby Ferte-Mace — and

to uphold Normandy’s tradition.

With a tap of a bone on the

right shoulder, the “grand master”

inducts them into the association

and presents them with their red-

and-green regalia as well as me-

dallions stamped with a pot and a

small skewered bundle.

Seven emissaries from other

fraternities are also made honorary

members of Ferte-Mace’s vener-

able tripe brotherhood.

And then it’s off for a pa-

rade through town, followed by

a five-course meal at a Michelin-

starred restaurant where, naturally

enough, the plat de resistance is a

steaming plate of tripe.

Similar scenes play out nearly

every week across France, home

to around 1,500 “confreries” with

over 10,000 members — mostly

pensioners who are not involved

in the production of the delicacy in


They receive subsidies to

crisscross the country promoting

their region’s produce and partak-

ing in ritualistic food feasts.

“We’re an association of good-

timers,” Jean Traon, the jocular co-

grand master of Ferte-Mace’s tripe

fraternity, admitted to AFP.

“But we enjoy in moderation,”

the 73-year-old former police cap-

tain emphasized.

Banned during the French

Revolution, together with religious

orders, the cultish “confreries” un-

derwent a revival in the second

half of the 20th century, spurred by

concerns over the rise of industrial

People pose during the 38th annual general meeting of the

Brotherhood of “Tripiere Fertoise”, a Normandy’s Gastronomic

confraternity, aimed at promoting the culinary delights of the lining of

a cow’s stomach in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, western France, in this Sept.

8, 2018 file photo. — AFP

Knights of the tripe: French food cults defend local fare

Franck Quinton, right, chef of the restaurant The Manoir du Lys, prepares skewered tripe during the

38th annual general meeting of the Brotherhood of the “Tripiere Fertoise”, a Normandy’s Gastronomic

confraternity, aimed at promoting the culinary delights of the lining of a cow’s stomach in Bagnoles-de-

l’Orne, western France, in this Sept. 8, 2018 file photo. — AFP

Forty winks in 15 pounds!


xhausted Londoners hop-

ing to take a rest from their

busy schedules are being

offered an alternative to coffee

breaks: a sleep pod where they

can grab some shut-eye for £15

($20) an hour.

Inspired by Japanese capsule

hotels, Pop & Rest in London’s

trendy Shoreditch area boasts four

“sleep pods” — rooms with dark

walls and a lavender aroma to aid

relaxation, each supplied with ear

plugs and an eye mask.

Mauricio Villamizar, 28, said

he and his Pop & Rest co-founder

Yoann Demont came up with the

idea for their venture after observ-

ing Londoners’ hectic lifestyle

and long working hours.

“You could see they were

tired all the time and just with cof-

fee and tea wasn’t enough, so we

thought we should set up some-

thing like a private space where

they can relax in peace,” he said.

According to Villamizar, Pop

& Rest currently averages be-

Graeme Daniel, a regular user of Pop & Rest

places a sleep eye mask on as he sits in one of the

pods, allowing workers and travelers a place to rent

by the hour to relax and rest in Shoreditch, London,

on Tuesday. — Reuters

Tired Londoners rent sleep pods for catching some zzz’s

Mauricio Villamizar, co-founder of Pop & Rest

stands at the entrance to his premises, allowing

workers and travelers a place to rent by the hour to

relax and rest in Shoreditch, London, on Tuesday.

— Reuters

“malbouffe” (bad food).

Some serve as little more than

a pretext for merry-making but

others wield significant economic

and political clout.

“The rituals may be of another

age but there is a positive effect”

on producers of the delicacies, said

Joaquim Pueyo, MP of the Orne

region who was among a handful

of politicians attending the week-

end festivities.

The fact that local butchers

continue to churn out tripe — a

humble leftover from a leaner by-

gone era with a small but commit-

ted fan base in northern France —

is in no small part due to the efforts

of the brotherhood, Pueyo argued.

“We cannot keep up with de-

mand,” Guillaume Delignou, a

29-year-old who recently took

over one of Ferte-Mace’s best-

known butcheries, confirmed.

It’s not just graying gourmets

that wear brotherhoods’ colors

with pride.

Several former presidents have

agreed to fly the flag for local pro-

duce as a sign of their commit-

ment to France’s culinary heritage,

which was honored with a UNES-

CO world heritage listing in 2010.

Jacques Chirac, a man with a

legendary appetite, was inducted

into a brotherhood for calves’

brains, while Francois Mitterrand

was a champion for cassoulet, a

sausage and bean stew.

Many politicians from rural

constituencies agree to bat for sev-

eral brotherhoods, like Nathalie

Goulet, senator for the Orne re-

gion, a vegetarian who nonetheless

plumps for black pudding, white

pudding and tripe among other lo-

cal favorites including camembert.

Addressing the crowd gathered

for lunch at the Manoir du Lys, she

credited her victory in last year’s

Senate elections to the fact that she

was wearing her “lucky charm”,

the skewered tripe medallion.

Praising the brotherhoods,

whose members are known as

knights, as representing “the best

of France’s culinary art”, she

urged them to widen their nets and

recruit catering school students to

the cause.

“We have to pass it on,” she


Franck Quinton, chef at the

one-star Manoir du Lys, is com-

mitted to keeping the fires lit by

his grandfather — founder of the

skewered tripe brotherhood —


But he also wants to elevate the

meaty bundles, which are cooked

for 14 hours are traditionally eaten

at breakfast time.

“I grill them with lobster and

scallops. Delicious!”



North Korea agrees to shut missile site

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un agreed to make a historic visit to Seoul

soon and close a missile testing site in front of international inspectors

at a summit with the South’s President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang

on Wednesday. Progress on the key issue of the North’s nuclear

arsenal was limited, but the two signed a document to strengthen

ties between the two halves of the divided peninsula. Building on a

growing rapprochement, they agreed to create a facility to hold family

reunions at any time, work towards joining up road and rail links, and

mount a combined bid for the 2032 Olympics. The agreement “carries

the people’s fresh hope and the people’s strong, flaming desire for

reunification”, Kim said. His trip to Seoul would be the first by a Northern

leader since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, when hostilities ceased

with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving them technically in a

state of war.



Pak ex-PM Sharif, daughter freed from jail

A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered the release of jailed ousted

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, suspending the sentences

they received from a lower court in July. The Islamabad High Court

suspended the 10-year sentence for Sharif and the seven-year term

handed down to his daughter, Maryam, over corrupt practices linked to

his family’s ownership of upscale London flats. “Justice has been served

and I congratulate Nawaz Sharif’s supporters,” former Foreign Minister

Khawaja Asif, said outside the courtroom where Sharif’s supporters were

seen celebrating wildly. The Sharifs’ convictions are still under appeal

with the same Islamabad High Court, but a judge on Wednesday ruled

they should be freed immediately while the case continues. Sharif was

ousted and disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July

2017 and jailed earlier this year in absentia. He was arrested on July

13 upon returning from London, where his wife was receiving treatment

before her death this month.

— Reuters


‘Triple talaq’ now a crime in India

India’s Cabinet has approved an executive order to make instant divorce

among Muslims, a procedure called “triple talaq”, a punishable offense,

a government minister said on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Narendra

Modi looks to woo Muslim women voters. The Supreme Court outlawed

the practice last year, but Modi’s government wants to make it a non-

bailable offense carrying a jail term of up to three years. Federal Law

Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told a news conference the Cabinet

approved the decree because the practice persisted despite the court

decision. In August last year, the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional

a law that allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives simply by uttering

the word “talaq”, or “divorce” in Arabic, three times. The government has

been trying to pass legislation to “explicitly ban” the procedure. In an

Independence Day speech last month Modi said he would “not stop till

they get justice,” referring to the women.

— Reuters


Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI probe

A woman who has accused President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court

nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault decades ago wants her

allegations to be investigated by the FBI before she appears at a

US Senate hearing, her lawyers said on Tuesday. The development

further roiled a confirmation process that once seemed smooth for

Kavanaugh, whose confirmation to the lifetime post could consolidate the

conservative grip on the top US court. Christine Blasey Ford, a university

professor in California, has accused Kavanaugh of attacking her and

trying to remove her clothing while he was drunk at a suburban Maryland

party in 1982 when they were both high school students, allegations

Kavanaugh has called “completely false.” The Senate Judiciary Committee,

which is overseeing the nomination, had called a hearing for Monday to

examine the matter, and the White House had said Kavanaugh was ready

to testify.

— Reuters


Car hits pedestrians outside UK mosque

Police in London launched an investigation Wednesday into a possible

hate crime after a car hit a crowd outside a mosque, injuring three

people. The collision, in Cricklewood in north London in the early hours

of Wednesday, followed the occupants of the car allegedly directing

“comments of an Islamophobic nature” at the group, according to the

Metropolitan Police. The incident left a man in his 50s hospitalized with

“a serious leg injury”, while two other men in their 20s suffered minor

injuries, it added. Officers are working to trace the driver and occupants

of the car — three men and a woman, all aged in their mid-20s —-

which fled the scene.

— Reuters

tween 30-35 customers a week,

among them many freelancers

and people working in the gig


Graeme Daniel is a director of

a fashion company and has visited

Pop & Rest several times since it

opened in June this year.

The 58-year-old says that the

pods are helpful to catch up on

sleep after a late night followed

by a busy working day.

“If I go out late in the eve-

ning and I’ve got maybe meetings

spread throughout the day, it’s

just nice to have one hour catch

up on the sleep that I’ve probably

missed the night before,” he said.

“What can you get for 15

pounds in Central London, you

know, you have a lunch… So 15

pounds to have a decent rest and

clear mind for the afternoon or

for a meeting late on in the day is

perfect as far as I’m concerned,”

he added.

Designer Dan Andrews, 30,

works in near Pop & Rest and

says the pods offer him a chance

to meditate.

“Even if you try and take that

time to meditate or be mindful on

a park bench or in the corner of

the office or anywhere it’s just

really hard to get that disconnec-

tion,” he said.

— Reuters