French You Very Much

When, after turning their noses at our fatuous Iraqi endeavor, the French lost favor with much of the American public I rolled my eyes as far back into my head as humanly possible. We had folks changing French fries to “freedom fries,” imbeciles pouring out good French wine, and intelligent people with a none-the-less shallow memory of American history claiming massive French debt because “we saved their butts in WWII.” Heaven forbid that a sovereign government disagree with the U-S-of-A.

Thank goodness most of this lunacy abated.

There remains, unfortunately, a fairly pervasive negative attitude towards France to this day in America. Whether it is the fashion, the food snobbery, the socialist domestic tendencies, or their frequently differing stances on the world stage, our populace carries a bias against French cultural elements which I cannot abide. I love red Bordeaux wine. I treasure those French-perfected cooking practices which serve me in the kitchen. I owe much to French film-making pioneers who advanced the art to tremendous effect. I’m anticipating my March trip to Paris as greatly as any vacation I’ve ever taken.

It was with whole-hearted fist-pounding agreement, then, that I read the latest post by Michael Ruhlman on his blog. He responds to a Publisher’s Weekly review of his book, The Elements of Cooking, wherein he’s criticized for his apparent Francophilia. Ruhlman claims that such acknowledgment of cooking’s French roots is a strength, not a weakness. Right on, Mr. Ruhlman. Here’s hoping I find your book under the tree wrapped in shiny paper on Christmas morning.

Leave a Reply