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Friday, July 15, 2011

Vive La Cuisine Franglais!


 In 1803, the young country of America bought a sizable chuck of land in its backyard from France for the princely sum of $15 million. Everyone was a winner: the United States gained Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, parts of Minnesota, Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Louisiana, most of the Dakotas and the city of New Orleans, thereby doubling its territory and creating the vast breadbasket that would feed the new nation.

In return (in addition to the cash), the master military strategist Napoleon Bonaparte got the satisfaction of creating a potential naval power to rival that of its arch-enemy England. Assuming, that is, those upstart Yanks didn't develop a "special relationship" with the dastardly Limeys. 

That worked out well for France.

A mere 160 years later, Better Homes and Gardens heaped insult upon injury by unleashing one of the most unwittingly offensive cookbooks ever: Meals With a Foreign Flair. In it, all the world’s cultures suffer equally the indignity of culinary stereotyping on a grand scale, including those hapless cooks, the French.

Take, for example, this delightfully futuristic rendering of a classic French dessert: strawberries on sticks poked into a ball of strawberry leaves magically embedded into a bowl of green stuff, or, as we say in Franglais, “Fraises a la mode gros folie et dangereuse aussi.”

The book recommends serving this monstrosity with Demitasse made from mixing “3 tablespoons of instant coffee and 2 cups of boiling water.”

Bon Appétit! (or as we say, “Vas te faire encule!”)

Meals With A Foreign Flair, Better Homes and Gardens, 1963

Also from this book: Bohemian RhapsodySweet-Sour Pork

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