If you think feeding your family at Christmastime is tough, imagine what poor Mrs. Claus has to go through. St. Nick’s spouse opens up about what The Jolly One likes to eat, why elves are bad cooks, and the dining scene at the North Pole.
Pardon me for saying it, but you look a lot younger than expected.
I am his second wife. Mrs. Claus, Part Deux. He and his ex split up back in the 80s. We met a few years ago, when I was being very naughty at a party in Paris. That is where I am from. Every year, after he is finished delivering all the presents, he likes to stop for a cafe in Paris. Anyway, he came down this chimney where there happened to be a party. I was under the mistletoe with Jacques when I noticed him. We were married last year.
How impressive that Old St. Nick was able to snag such a young beauty.
Au contraire! In France, he is considered — how do you say? — um, a symbol of the sex! We French women, we love the gourmands, the bon vivants. Even though we ourselves, as you know, never get fat.
So, what does Santa like to eat around the holidays?
Well, when my, ahem, predecessor was still around, it was always pies, pies, pies. What it is with Americans, Brits, and Germans and their damned pies? You people will put anything in a pie crust: fruit, onions, meat. It’s revolting.
Don’t the French have tortes?
Ha! Surely you are joking. A torte is to pie what Jerry Lewis is to that Jerry Seinfeld.
I’m not sure I understand that analogy. So, you were saying, what Santa likes to eat?
Ah yes. Well, he loves the foie gras, which we like to eat at Noel in France, but also during all the seasons of the year. Once, I tried to feed him raw oysters, which are also traditional at Noel, but we discovered he is very, very allergic. That year, he went around with two big bags: one for toys and the other for — how do you say? — tossing his cookies.
Yes, well, did you know that, in 1846, a documented six million dozen oysters were consumed in Paris? And that was during an economic depression, no less! With only about 20 percent of Parisians able to afford such a luxury, that is an estimated 25 dozen oysters per person! Impressive, no? You Americans have no idea how to behave during a poor economy.
I suppose. Do you cook very much yourself?
Non! I am afraid I am useless in the kitchen. But I had my husband move some of his elves from the workshop to the kitchen. I must say, they are not a people made for cooking. Their tiny hands may be good for making toys, but not kneading dough, and so the baguette is always lumpy and terrible. And they are always making little happy faces with cherries and oranges on my duck a l’orange or arranging the frogs’ legs to make it look like they’re dancing. It is tres exasperating!
Can you go out to eat or is there not much dining out to be had at the North Pole?
Sadly, no. The problem is that the local cuisine is not to my taste. There is a restaurant not far from our house that serves nothing but candy canes and Twizzlers. The next closest town is in Northern Quebec, where they dine on raw seal. Sure, I love to eat adorable animals as much as the next Frenchwoman, but could they not toss it with an egg and some lemon for a nice tartare?
So, what do you do for a nice romantic meal, just the two of you?
Either, I will make him hitch up the sleigh and take me to Paris or New York where we can dine properly. In New York, we love Le Bernardin, of course, but also Shake Shack because it’s so easy to land the sleigh in Madison Square Park. Otherwise, I make one of the elves go out and shoot a reindeer for a lovely venison. It makes the little head chef cry when he has to prepare it, but it’s just so delicious!