They said that if you’re in Carcassonne, it’s got to be cassoulet
For lunch, preferably at an outdoor table but don’t worry
About trying to find the definitive cassoulet because there isn’t one.
Like Irish stew, every mother has her own touches, her own way.
My Irish Mammy would have recoiled from cassoulet, too much foreigny
Going on and going in – haricot beans, pork, onions, cloves, garlic,
Tomato puree, bouquet garni, Toulouse sausages, duck legs, this, that,
And cooked for ages, then served with Minervois wine and a “bon appétit”.
We climbed the hilly street, A-boards advertising ‘authentic’ cassoulet –
La véritable recette du cassoulet - outside restaurant after restaurant,
Chalked roughly but with pride. We chose. We ate every bit of it but resisted
The poet’s urge to equate it all with history, literature and gubbings.
We were just hungry.