About Me

My photo
Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Think you know me?

This is a photo I posted on Facebook yesterday:
Frank's Red Hot Sauce - my favorite!
It got some interesting comments, offers, and even recipes; all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  One of the points I was trying to make, other than my love for hot sauce, is there are something you just can’t get in France.  I’m okay with that; I can take the trade-off and bring back a bottle of hot sauce every year.  This doesn’t bother me.

France is the height of gastronomy; one cannot talk about France without talking about its food and one can rarely talk about food without mentioning something French.  I am one to defend the rich French culinary traditions, but with the highs come the lows, and sometimes those valleys can be pretty deep.  The discussion developed from my hot sauce photo turned to barbeque sauce and quickly went downhill from there because there is no real barbeque sauce is France.  Alright, perhaps not truly the pits of the valley and something that one can do without, but what the market has created in its place is as just about as low as you can go: spicy ketchup.  It’s not just that I’ve seen people use ketchup over pasta, or that the very mildly spicy version is “just too spicy” for many tame French palettes, but it’s what it represents: this is what they think American food is about.  It’s not. 

The facsimiles of “American food” are shocking and somewhat telling of how we Americans are looked at from afar.  Anything “American Size” is huge; sandwiches à l’Amércaine are topped with fries; and American sauce is some pink concoction I’ve never seen before.  I’d love to know where this is coming from because while barbeque is tomato based, I’ve never seem one confused for the other – and this is coming from a Midwesterner; a region generally considered novice when it comes to spices and all that cooking over fire thing Texas has going for it.  The sad news is, France has hooked into what is bad about the American cuisine.  I like American cooking, heck, I’m a big fan of ham and cream cheese roll ups and I know they’re not considered high class, but what represents us food-wise elsewhere is not doing any favors to our reputation.

So now, when I tell people from the United States, and in particularly Chicago, I can now add ketchup to the list of things people think they know about me: Coca-Cola, Al Capone, and (thankfully) Michael Jordan.

No comments:

Post a Comment