Nowt odd about this

For the guardians of French gastronomy, the prospect of being served something as unsophisticated as a slab of mincemeat with a bap and slice of cheese would long have been considered sacrilegious.
Today, however, the tables have turned. In a culinary revolution, three quarters of French restaurants now sell hamburgers and 80 per cent of these say it has become their top-selling dish, according to a new study.
“Le burger” – as the French dub the quintessentially American invention to the despair of linguistic purists of the Académie Française – has become a feature of even the most illustrious eateries.

Hache au pain avec fromage sounds rather more sophisticated though, doesn’t it?

Of course, as Rincewind always notes, it’s the having it with avec that makes is so posh.

33 thoughts on “Nowt odd about this”

  1. Steak haché has always been a staple of French cuisine. Maybe not between two halves of a bap, but a staple nonetheless, and preferably of horse not beef.

    Steak haché is a buger by any other name.

  2. Yeah: I was about to say- the premise of the article seems flawed. The French do plenty with plain ingredients and simple food. The burger is no more complex or anything than loads of their stuff. They just like things cooked better.

  3. The Meissen Bison

    Quite so, dearieme, though I think that the bap thing may be a transatlantic deviation. In Berlin they’re called Buletten and Frikadellen elsewhere.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    The problem with a burger is not the burger, not the concept, but the execution. If you use poor bread and vaguely identifiable meat, you will end up with something that leaves a lot to be desired.

    But some decent meat, on a decent bun with some lettuce is about as healthy a meal as I can think of. By any standard.

  5. As others have said, a burger (albeit one of decent quality, not a frozen Frisbee) is a standard item in French restaurants, along with fries and ketchup. I am increasingly finding that people who write about French cuisine don’t know much about it.

  6. A hamburger is basically a sausage, made from the bits of the animal you can’t use as meat. But mince good meat, with a bit of parsley, salt, pepper, flour, maybe egg, into something that looks like a hamburger, and do it on a hotplate or grill, and it’s perfectly decent food. Over here we call it filete ruso.

  7. Their basic premise is – American, automatically awful; French, automatically good. Everything else is just garnish.

  8. It’s oft been stated that a *good* hamburger pretty much constitutes a well-balanced meal. And quite a few countries have a variety of “ground meat on bread with relish” somewhere in their repertoire. Or in a pancake, or….
    And if the ingredients are of quality, the results will be good.

    What the fast-food industry …perpetrated… on the concept is something else entirely. And is pretty much entirely to blame on Uncle Sam.
    Possibly aided and abetted by the godawful torture the english put food through to begin with. ( commentary on which has, incidentally, always been part and parcel of Pratchett’s humor…(and many, many others..))

  9. Grikath,
    I beg to differ. A hamburger contains red meat (bad) and very little in the way of fruit or vegetables (good). Even worse when served with chips.

  10. “Steak hache sur son lit du pain artisanale avec fromage”.

    There, fixed it for you.

    Gotta have the ‘sur son lit de’ or it’s simply not pretentious enough.

  11. Grikath,

    I’m not proposing a burger tax or anything of the sort, so enjoy your horse steak. But you’re not going to convince me that a slab of red meat with no veg constitutes a well-balanced meal.

  12. well no.. but a proper hamburger has a decent amount of greenery on it. Or with it as a side.
    mcYuck is a prime example how it’s *not* supposed to be done. They have reduced the vegetable part to a token amount of half-wilted goo, and sell the bits that should have gone on it as a separate salad, at premium.

  13. There is (or was) a lot to be said for the Australian delicacy “Hamburger the lot”. The accompanying vegetation used to include lots of beetroot; not the preserved-in-vinegar sort of course.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Hamburger is Hamburg steak, which is an American East coast coinage. The current version of grilled patty in a bun is a totally US concoction, notwithstanding that other cuisines may have something similar. It’s also stated, although with what justification I can’t say, that the original hamburger used two slices of bread.

    A good hamburger is as good a meal as anything. My local supermarket sells Aberdeen Angus patties which when combined with caramelised onions, lots of bacon, decent chess and some Dijon mustard provide a fairly close approximation to the Platonic ideal of something you’d want to shove down your cakehole.

  15. Block In North Dorset

    BIT
    ““Steak hache sur son lit du pain artisanale avec fromage”.”

    I’m learning French as a hobby so stand to be corrected but shouldn’t that be:

    “…. sur un lit …”? “a” as opposed to his or her

  16. I shared Grikath’s opinion of McYuk. But that was based on the UK’s version. The Brits being able to take the concept of ‘fast food’, remove both the fast & the food & offer what remains with surley snear. Then I passed through the Golden Arches in a small town somewhere north of Bordeaux. Where a Big Mac was presented looking exactly like the illustration on the menu. Right down to the drop of fresh morning dew on the tomato & the deafeningly crisp lettuce. Delivered to the table,no less, with cheery “Bon Apetit, Messeur”. And drinkable coffee!!!
    Which may possibly be why MichelD’s are packed to the doors, most places

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “I beg to differ. A hamburger contains red meat (bad) and very little in the way of fruit or vegetables (good). Even worse when served with chips.”

    I wonder what the scientific evidence is for 1. the idea that red meat is bad for you, that a hamburger lacks vegetables – especially if you do as the Australians do an add beetroot per dearieme, which I can attest is actually delicious – or 3. that chips are bad for you?

    I don’t want to endorse anything Woody Allen has ever said or done, but he might have been on to something in Sleeper.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    bloke in spain – “I shared Grikath’s opinion of McYuk. But that was based on the UK’s version. The Brits being able to take the concept of ‘fast food’, remove both the fast & the food & offer what remains with surley snear.”

    I can more or less second this opinion. I always assumed that crap burgers were an inevitable part of the mass production methods in the fast food industry. One does not expect terroir from Coca Cola. But then I ate in Quick. Which I assumed was French but actually is Belgian although now it is owned by Burger King I think. I am still very impressed by the quality of their buns.

    There is nothing inherent in the process that seems to mandate McD’s vile bread. It is just that British people are willing not only to eat slop I would prefer to feed to a pig, they are prepared to pay for it too. I am all in favour of the stiff upper lip and all that but there is a limit.

  19. Smfs, Belgian chips are the best. They use horse fat. Round the back of the natural history museum, they queue for chips

  20. Bloke in Germany in Japan

    Recently had a Wagyu burger. About ten euros. Generous size, so probably made out of front legs rather than entrecote at that price, but still very eatable.

  21. BiND ““Steak hache sur son lit du pain artisanale avec fromage”.”

    I’m learning French as a hobby so stand to be corrected but shouldn’t that be:

    “…. sur un lit …”? “a” as opposed to his or her

    BiT is right in this use of the possessive for foody-speak but he goes slightly astray in using du instead of the correct partitive in this case which is de.

  22. BiND:

    I failed to spot that BiT had incorrectly made artisanal feminine so he loses another mark there.

    Good luck with the studies. I’d suggest getting hold of a copy of Whitmarsh’s Advanced French Course on eBay which is an ancient text book but with a superb grammar section.

    You might try reading Tintin or Astérix for fun or try Radio France Internationale (RFI) which has a daily ten minute Journal en Français Facile.

  23. I have always been mystified as to why a people who eat snails for fun would consider themselves superior to all in the field of gastronomy. That said, I’m happy to see the Froggies coming to their senses about burgers. They’re still wogs, though.

  24. A hamburger contains red meat (bad) and very little in the way of fruit or vegetables (good).

    First of all, the actual science of it doesn’t support contention #1. Beyond that, common suggests that if a species that started as a hunter-gather omnivore now can obsess over the fine points of healthy eating and losing weight, then perhaps red meat hasn’t served mankind all that badly.

    Second, when you want to eat healthy, you don’t order a burger in the first place. You order a burger for the fun of it.

    Third, not every meal as to be, in and of itself, healthy. Anyone who suggests differently is simply a fascist.

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