the unbearable lightness of soufflé
December 1, 2004 11:24 PM   Subscribe

"I have realized that the traditional omelet form (eggs and cheese) is bourgeois. Today I tried making one out of a cigarette, some coffee, and four tiny stones."
posted by scrim (31 comments total)
Wow. I may be getting my dates wrong, but I believe I remember reading this prior to the invention of the world wide web. It's amazing how long things kick around. Funny stuff.
posted by jonson at 11:28 PM on December 1, 2004

Camus shooting a straw wrapper into Sartre's eye made me laugh for over forty seconds. But now there is a void inside me.

"Ow! You dick!"
posted by jenovus at 11:28 PM on December 1, 2004

While this post is horrible, it does not manage to communicate the true vastness of the void within me.

Also, I like it.
posted by Fontbone at 11:34 PM on December 1, 2004

Yes, this is quite old-school, but enjoyable nonetheless.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:36 PM on December 1, 2004

[This is good.]
posted by BradNelson at 11:44 PM on December 1, 2004

I have to resist the urge to quote the whole thing. The agony of my existence only wishes it were longer.
posted by paladin at 11:52 PM on December 1, 2004

This is actually not the same parody on this subject I once read; I remember in the other one, he mentioned something about making a cake out of coffee and cigarettes and feeding it to Camus (I think), who became ill.
posted by clockzero at 11:52 PM on December 1, 2004

clockzero - the part I quoted comes right before something like "I fed it to Malraux, who puked." so maybe it is the same one? I know it is ancient (I read it years ago also), but I checked and no one seems to have ever posted it.

also it makes me giggle uncontrollably every time I read it.
posted by scrim at 11:57 PM on December 1, 2004

attr. Marty Smith, for The Free Agent (Portland, OR), 1987.

Marty Smith is called "a local wise-ass" and has an online literary magazine. Catch him channelling Lewis Lapham.

He also had a Seattle Weekly column called The Ask Master, where he channels Cecil Adams.

Ah, here we are. CV, where he lays claim to the thing.
posted by dhartung at 12:00 AM on December 2, 2004

Sartre appears to have a few lost works..
posted by kindle at 12:23 AM on December 2, 2004

Thanks for reminding me of this. I seem to remember reading it before the web...but it still makes me smile.
posted by bashos_frog at 12:31 AM on December 2, 2004

Dear Philosopher
posted by homunculus at 12:38 AM on December 2, 2004

That was very strange, and for that I thank you.
posted by The God Complex at 3:00 AM on December 2, 2004


hmm...I must accept the painful conclusion that my memory corrupted this over the years.

The version I thought I remembered seemed funnier.
posted by clockzero at 3:15 AM on December 2, 2004

v funny.

........wake me up when the dream is over.....
posted by gofojo at 3:36 AM on December 2, 2004

*giggles uncontrollably*
posted by dabitch at 3:42 AM on December 2, 2004

Strange. The original version I had read (and which seems most prominent on the web) is here (among others). The version you posted is longer, but it seems to me somehow that it was added to by someone else than the original author. The added pieces just feel different to me (and less funny, although still quite so).

If you google 'sartre cookbook -"you dick"', you get 7800 results, while the version you posted has only 30. Seems less popular or less known by far. Very interesting.
posted by splice at 4:01 AM on December 2, 2004

This gave me my first true *ROFLMAO* moment online some 15 years ago (I think...*whacks head with cane to shake loose memories*).

I've also been chunks of it at work for years:
"How's the server?"
"Place a chair facing your computer and sit in it forever. Think about how much work you need to get done. When night falls, do not turn on the light."


"How did you fix that??"
"Five pounds of cherries and a live beaver, challenging the very definition of the word, "fix"".
posted by zerokey at 5:03 AM on December 2, 2004

Well I haven't seen this before and I find it hysterically funny.

"Some of the patrons complained that my breakfast special (a page out of Remembrance of Things Past and a blowtorch with which to set it on fire) did not satisfy their hunger." BWAHAHAHA!
posted by dnash at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2004

I had been creating meal after meal, but none seemed to express the futility of existence any better than would ordering a pizza.

Truer words were never spoken.

Add me to the "never seen but now better for it" chorus.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:38 AM on December 2, 2004

People, if you're gonna make fun of the French, this is how it should be done.
posted by fungible at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2004

I have a collection of Woody Allen essays written in the 60s, and that's where this is from.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:50 AM on December 2, 2004

As long as the old-skool philosophy jokes are coming out, Wittgenstein on Fog-Like Sensations pretty much rules.

696. Imagine that the motorist said: "The trouble is, I can't see the fog for the fog." We might understand this as a request for practical information, and try to answer it by showing him the definition of "fog" in the dictionary. To this he might reply: "I can't see 'fog' for the fog." We respond by putting the dictionary an inch in front of his eyes. Now he says: "I can't see the fog for 'fog'."

697. At this point a philosopher might want to say: "He sees the fog but does not perceive its fogginess." Ask yourself what could possibly be the object of saying this.
posted by kenko at 7:52 AM on December 2, 2004

If the internet had brought me nothing other than that Tuna Casserole recipe and the part about the tender limbs of America's favorite homemaker, I would be grateful.

As it is, though, the springing up of this Intarweb thing is pretty cool.

(and yes, jonson, I first saw this in the gopher days of the net, but I doubt I will ever get tired of it).
posted by weston at 8:41 AM on December 2, 2004

The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre was sitting in a cafe when a waitress approached him: "Can I get you something to drink, Monsieur Sartre?"
Sartre replied, "Yes, I'd like a cup of coffee with sugar, but no cream".
Nodding agreement, the waitress walked off to fill the order and Sartre returned to working. A few minutes later, however, the waitress returned and said, "I'm sorry, Monsieur Sartre, we are all out of cream -- how about with no milk?"
posted by Endymion at 8:49 AM on December 2, 2004

I remember this from a lot of years ago.
Made me laugh then, and still does.

I needed that!
posted by kamylyon at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2004

wow. the brilliance of this post more than made up for my disappointment that the link to the sandwich club was not going to get me any free sandwiches.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:05 PM on December 2, 2004

I too was sure this had been posted before, but all I can find is elwoodwiles' link in this comment. It certainly is one of the funnier bits of online zaniness.
posted by languagehat at 1:51 PM on December 2, 2004

Hi, this is Marty Smith. I wrote this article. Thanks to scrim for posting it-- it always amazes me that people are still reading it. And thanks also to dhartung for tracking down my current whereabouts; it's always nice to get a few hits for my online mag Lime Tea or for

Incidentally, if anyone cares, the author's original version is available here. The discrepancy in versions is mostly due to the fact that the story was reprinted in Utne, who edited it for length. Unsurprisingly, I like my original, longer version better.

Also, I am teetering on the brink of eviction right now. If anyone wants to throw a buck or two in my tip jar, I have a PayPal account at I certainly don't think you have any obligation to do so, but if you're just dying to, hey, I won't argue.
posted by limetea at 3:41 PM on December 2, 2004

Reminds me a bit of the Futurist Cookbook (which, sadly, seems to be out of print), though that was a genuine futurist document, not a parody (its humor appears to be intentional, however).

Also: Hi, Marty.
posted by klausness at 7:52 PM on December 2, 2004

kenko, that is pretty amazing as well.

I am so glad that everyone enjoyed it.
posted by scrim at 11:33 PM on December 6, 2004

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