The life of the sheep, as the hoi polloi pass,
Seems a monochrome diet of pasture and grass;
But not to that bon-viveur Maitre des Prés,
Alphonse de Michelin Mouton-Cadet.
His delicate palate and sensitive nose
Were, among other gastronomes, quite autre chose;
And his Salade de Champignons aux Herbes Melées
With a touch of wild garlic, the Dish of the Day.
Food freaks in Denver were rumoured to be
Hooked on his Clover d’Alphonse Ratatouille;
Which, topped with his Compôte de Fruits de Campagne,
Won the Grand Prix d’Honneur, Cordon Bleu, de l’Espagne.
Alphonse owed his name and renowned savoir-faire
To his Norman descent; and bemoaned – c’est la guerre! –
How his Haute Cuisine lacked but a potable wine,
Since his ancestors opted for Hexham-on-Tyne.
His dandelion claret and elder-flower hock
Had a frisson de je-ne-sais-quoi, but the flock
Were a constant offence to this true oenophile,
Drinking Newcastle Brown with his Crème Camomile.
How he longed for that subtly intriguing bouquet
Of a mildly presumptious Reserve Cabernet;
Or that bit more attack on the palate which goes
With a Chateau Margaux’s oh! so eloquent nose.
But Destiny called and Alphonse, de rigueur,
Joined the crème-de-la-crème of ovine connoisseurs,
Where he’s still judged the best – and it’s richly deserved –
Suprème d’Agneau that the Ritz ever served.
( from ‘The Bertie Ramsbottom Book of Improbable Sheep )