Jun 15, 2014

Questionable Father's Day: Père Bafien


Today is Father's Day, in both the U.S. and France, and the girls have saved up their gifts for today, so Anthony only gets one Father's Day, as compared to my five Mother's Days. I don't know, maybe I'm biased, but that seems about the right ratio to me.


Last year, Gigi had a huge painting and card that she made for her Daddy, and Pippa gave him a school-made pinwheel and a poem. The poem is probably my favorite part of it, because her teacher saw her first draft and made her write another one. The first draft is the best draft, however; it's priceless. Here it is, with spelling not corrected:

Papa, tu es mon chat.                           Daddy, you are my cat.
Tu est plus beau que les rats.               You are more handsome than the rats.
Tu aime les apareilles photo de moi     You like my cameras
dans un village.                                     in a village.
Les africains son't moin jolis que toi,   The Africans are less good-looking than you,
Papa.                                                     Daddy.

Just so you know, this poem is not so much racist as continentalist. I mean, the Africans in question could easily be Caucasian South Africans; she never specifies. And in reality, it's less continentalist than it is soundist. She chose all the words because of the "aaah" sound in them when pronounced in French (Africain, apareille, village, chat, rat).

The revised version encouraged by her teacher is more "politically correct" and highly sanitized. There are no Africans, and no rats. Where's the artistry in that?

This year, Pippa makes him a pencil holder at school, putting great effort into it, yet still managing to make it upside down and not notice. So Anthony gets not only a pencil holder, but also a project for the day that requires him to break out his Dremel tool. It's the perfect Father's Day gift.

Speaking of artistry, as part of his official fathering duties, Anthony has introduced the girls to Star Wars. Neither of them are terribly impressed. After watching about an hour of it, we put it away for days, and neither girl even asks to see the rest. Finally, they watch the rest this weekend, and Gigi is mildly enthusiastic about the ending. But it takes at least twice as long to watch it as it should, because they make us stop every couple minutes to answer questions: Why is Darth Vader so mean? Why don't they evacuate the planet before it gets blown up? How does the light saber work? What, exactly, is the force, and how can a dead Obi-Wan Kenobi still be talking to Luke? Why is a Wookie so hairy? It's exhausting. Gigi chooses to play with a friend rather than watch The Empire Strikes Back, and Pippa watches half of it, then has nightmares. (Meanwhile, I show them one of my favorite films, Strictly Ballroom, and they are gaga over it -- jumping, cheering, laughing, and crying through the movie, then rehashing it endlessly. Growing up with three brothers, Anthony is still amazed to be surrounded by so much girliness.)


I get Anthony a shirt for Father's Day, which I buy when I am out shopping alone. I offer the girls to give it from them as well, but they are both convinced I have chosen badly and that he will hate it. It is part of my lifelong campaign to make Anthony's wardrobe more colorful and less full of stripes, since I consider the men's clothing section (endless rows of stripes and plaids in shades of blue, brown, gray, and dark green) to be mind-numbingly boring. Anthony is on the fence about whether he can be convinced to wear it, or whether I should return it. But it's growing on him, slowly...like a field of wildflowers.


So over the past couple years, with one questionable poem, one questionable pencil holder, and one questionable men's shirt, Anthony has officially been celebrated for being an excellent dad. So, just to clarify the title of this posting: It is the quality of the gifts that are questionable, not the quality of the father.

THE CHEESE: Père Bafien

From Neuville-de-Poitou, this artisanal goat cheese is produced by the producer who himself is referred to as le Père Bafien -- father Bafien, that is. This version is a firm goat cheese with a toad skin crust speckled with a little peppercorn.

The interior is a thick, dry texture, that's closer to crumbly than creamy. Behind it all is a delicious medium-strength goat twang. It's lovely plain, on bread, or -- need I even say it? -- on bread with a drizzle of honey or fruit gel.


It's a father of a cheese for a father to whom we give the cheesiest of gifts, on Father's Day. 


  1. The Father's Day gifts look marginally better than the paper tie our then 6 year old made for his dad 4 years ago which his dad wore to work with pride! Fact tie was too short was irrelevant. Love love Strictly Ballroom. Our now 12 year old daughter never saw the point of Star Wars but from about 4-5 years of age, our son 's obsession with Star Wars nearly made me hated by other mothers as my boy introduced boys to light sabers and expensive lego. My husband loved sharing his enthusiasm with our son so I can understand how it's disappointing when your kids don't feel the same love.
    I've said it before & I'll say it again. We here in sydney Aust love your posts. Thanks for blogging. Den xxx

  2. I can say that I now like my wild, flowery shirt. However, I've only found the occasion to wear it 3 times in the last year. I may have lost the battle to celebrate Star Wars with my girls, but I've definitely learned a lot of signing, dancing and gymnastics.

  3. Hi Anthony. You're probably marginally better at dance than my hubby! My hubby has perfected his clumsy ballet steps whilst playing Angelina Ballerina board games with our girl. His netball skills have also stepped up five notches since our girl started to play. (Don't know if USA or France has equivalent.)


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