Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mais non! C’est impossible?

Mark Bittman, one of my favorite food writers and providers of recipes, has just broken my heart. He writes that the French have changed when it comes to food. No longer can you be guaranteed that anywhere you eat in France will be wonderful.
by Charlie Leck
“The people of France appear to have lost faith and even interest. They spend most of their restaurant dollars at chains, and they no longer trust that restaurants make a majority of their dishes themselves.” [Mark Bittman, NY Times]
I want to cry! Je tiens à pleurer!
I spent several months in France in ’78. I had a little, garret apartment in a working class section of the city. I could wander out into the city for a lunch and stop into almost any small restaurant and point to something for the waiter, asking him politely to bring “ca” for me.
“Merci beaucoup!”
I’ve gone back to France several times over the years. I love the nation dearly and think of it constantly. Even up until four or five years ago I knew I could depend on the universal promise of wonderful food in all of France.
Moments later an extraordinary meal would be placed before me. It never failed. It was always wonderful.
Bittman says it ain’t so in France of today. If you want that kind of French cuisine, he says, “you’d better hop in your time machine.”
I stand prepared, and even anxious, for my friends and family in France to scream and holler – to rant and rave – and to tell me that none of what Bittman says is true.
“C’est une catastrophe! Dites-moi ce n’est pas vrai!” (It is a catastrophe! Tell me it ain't true!)


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