Fr. Z’s Kitchen and Tour Talk – #TDF2019 – @Le_Tour Stage 21 – with BIG news!

In a post about the Tour de France, early on, I mentioned that somewhere in storage I had a big corkscrew made by Campagnolo.  I found it. And it’s the last day of the Tour.

The Columbian, Egan Bernal has taken the prize.  I didn’t realize that Columbia was such a cycling enthusiastic nation.

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I rode a great bike with all Super Record parts, Reynolds double-butted tubing, silk sown tires, etc.  It “grew wings” and was stolen from the rectory of all places and may an enormous creature gnaw off the top of the thief’s skull and eat the meager innards… not that I’m still bitter about it. But I digress.

Here’s the big Campy corkscrew.  It’s big and it’s campy.

I said it was big, right?  A regular French-made (in honor of the Tour) Tire-bouchon (in Latin extraculum) which I bought in Paris (where the Tour concludes) and a cork, also with some Latin is provided in the shot to give you perspective.  I think the wine was French, but I’m not sure.

Indeed, the fame of Campagnolo bike parts has flown throughout the world.  Not so much their helicopter line, however.  They fly, but I don’t think they are either famous or globally distributed. Fama eorum nondum per orbem volavit.

Note the classic Campy hex wrench socket.

You too can have one of these.  US HERE – UK HERE

This BIG was given to me during my time at the NATO base at Vicenza, in N. Italy.  I was invited with friends to a family’s home for a feast.  They had just returned from a hunting trip for ortolani, tiny little birds, buntings.  Our hosts were excited about our impending delicacy.  They had traveled outside the borders of the country (away from the reach of the Italian law) and had just returned in time to prepare them.  How, you might be asking.

The gentle birds, lightly killed with small shot, were swiftly plucked in accordance with the French (in honor of the Tour) song: je te plumerai la tête.  They were spitted – whole and entire, little bare heads lolling – alternating with sausages and roasted over coals. The drippings and birds were eventually served with polenta (what else… the northern Italian version of those grits, to which I’ve never taken a strong liking).

The best thing about this opportunity, apparently, was biting off the top of the skull and sucking out the contents.  In France, where we weren’t, those who dine on these little critters, cover their heads with a cloth while partaking.  I get why.  We had cloths, but we just ate them, as bare-headed as the main course.

Anyway, cycling came up during the meal and for a good reason which I will get to in a moment.  After we were finished and after much grappa – and after that meal, I was in sore need of that grappa – my host, a major food distributor in the area, presented me with the BIG.  You see, Campagnolo’s factory is also in Vicenza, which is why I mentioned cycling and my old bike.  He had access to these gizmos because of his connections with wineries etc etc etc.

Hence, I have one.  And whenever I see it I think of NATO, the feeling of my teeth crunching bird skulls, and my long lost bicycle.


At the Tour, the riders are having an easy day, drinking the traditional champagne.

Alaphilippe kissing his crucifix at the beginning of the stage.

22 years old?  I have shoes that old.

The Ineos Team have added touches of yellow to their gear.


I’m marinating a pork tenderloin.  I will eat later in the evening, probably with turnip.  Time to select a wine.  French?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. exNOAAman says:

    In my healthful youth, I was a bicycle commuter for many years. But I didn’t have anything to wear on my head except an old baseball cap, turned backwards lest the wind swipe it away. (no racer wore a helmet back then). My baby sister gave me a birthday gift of a cool Campy hat, and she told me that she didn’t know what that Italian word was, but the man at the store assured her that any bicyclist would want it.
    I wore it every day I rode and loved it.

  2. acardnal says:

    I hope the usual pre-prandial cocktail is on the agenda.

  3. exNOAAman says:

    Additional for youth…In those days, it was not unusual to read classified newspaper ads for a used bicycle that listed the frame size, and 2 simple words…”all Campy”.
    Unfortunately for me, that translated into 3 simple words…”Can’t afford it “

  4. Mariana2 says:

    Grappa, brrr.

    Bernal and his little brother made the sign of the Cross on each other after the finish line.

    Bernal spoke really nicely in English, Italian, and Spanish to the crowd, and made a valiant effort at French, too; all off the cuff.

  5. Joe in Canada says:

    Was that Columbian from the Knights of or the District of?

  6. moosix1974 says:

    As a Colombian descendant, I must say this Father, it’s ColOmbian.

  7. seashoreknits says:

    Ah, the ortolans! Another happy nod to Pagnol’s My Father’s Glory

    [RIGHT!! Good catch.]

  8. mibethda says:

    Father, if it was a long time ago, it must have been a very long time ago since Campy replaced the Super Record with C Record as their top grupo in 1986 or 87 (they brought it back about 10 years ago). Back then, your frameset must have been a Reynolds 531 – a double butted chromoly set incredibly light for its day. Hated getting punctures in sew ups.

  9. It was indeed a long time ago, late seventies and into the 80’s. Then I went to to Rome and the rest is history.

  10. Leave it to a Latinate land to have a company that produces bicycle parts, helicopters, and corkscrews. They have their priorities right.

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