It’s tempting to wonder whether Bocuse’s pall bearers were able to detect a rapid, rotatory motion from within the load on their shoulders – tempting, too, to think that perhaps France should bury its much burnished self-image along with the master. For this, the home of haute cuisine and haughty chefs, the country of foie gras, baguettes and Charles de Gaulle’s celebrated “246 varieties of cheese” has a dirty secret: it has fallen in love with cheap, fast food.
Damn this modernity anyway. Who wants to solve that most pressing concern of the human condition, how do I fill my belly?
Nutella: the sublime combination of ingredients which hit the pleasure centres of the brain more satisfactorily than cocaine: chocolate, nuts, fat and sugar.
This is a secret? McDonalds has been popular in France for decades, and the frozen food shops probably as long.
Hierarchy of needs; as society improves, we move from merely needing to fill our bellies to devising more interesting ways of doing so. This is a sign that the French are slipping backwards.
(except, not necessarily; it’s possibly just a sign of greater equality, that the plebs can now afford to eat out on cheap fast food, and the middle classes can’t afford decent restaurants so much)
“chocolate, nuts, fat and sugar”: fortunately it resembles Marmite sufficiently that I can’t bring myself to try it.
I’ll stick to Bovril, thank you.
French mamans are going out to work instead of staying in the home to prepare delicious meals for their family according to recipes inherited from their mothers. While there are few things nicer with breakfast than a freshly prepared baguette, they go stale after a couple of hours (which is why French cuisine has so many uses for breadcrumbs), and who has the time to shop for bread twice a day?
I was just talking about this with my mother last week. I was remarking how as the middle class rises here, the quality of food out has skyrocketed. When I first arrived, tips on decent restaurants were passed around like samizdat. Getting decent beef was a real challenge. Now you’re spoilt for choice. I can get a half-kilo of extraordinarily good steak with fries and a salad for about £12, drinks and service charge included. Or a superb three course Indian blow-out, cooked by actual Indians, for a touch more. It’s making a virtue out of a necessity. Of course McDonald’s is everywhere (CR was the first country outside North America to get one) and the other night I was stuck in traffic for 25 minutes behind a queue of cars waiting for the Popeye’s drive-thru, but even there they’re not too bad. The Mickie D’s coffee is Britt, for example.
Don’t worry, the Left, Greens & Vegans are tackling the problem:
Destroy capitalism then we all eat porridge, peas or potatoes every meal every day and go to bed at sunset.
TomJ, thank you. A vague memory of that was buzzing round the back of my head, but I could only remember “where should we have lunch?”, not the other questions or where it came from.