Monday, 24 September 2007

Here, baby, have a coke.

(note: not my child but could be)

I'm always happy when I can break an American stereotype.

When I first got to France, people asked me if I had a gun, a big car, could find fresh fruit and vegetables, drank a lot of coke and ate McDonald's at every meal. Maybe my family is an exception to the American way of life, but we always ate well (Mom's a good cook), had fresh fruits and vegetables and didn't eat much junk when we were kids. McDonald's was for special (read emergency occasions) like road trips to Massachusetts or to Willow Lake.

So when we went to my husband's annual family BBQ yesterday, I was prepared to eat junk. I drank some coke (mostly because I had a migraine) and ate some potato chips. That's what you do. But I was shocked, floored, flabbergasted when I saw little 2 1/2 year old Zoe drinking coke in her baby bottle! I was even more shocked because when I imagine a baby bottle with coke, I think in stereotypes (poor, low educated, living in a trailer park) and she and her family would be the opposite extreme of that stereotype (well off, well educated, living in a mansion). Jerome's dentist cousin even told little Zoe that, as a "tooth doctor" she was telling her coca is bad.

In the car driving back to Lille, I mentioned this to Jerome and we decided that maybe you just don't care anymore when you get to the 5th child.

So there you go - another way that America is negatively influencing France.

Maybe in 15 years, when Suzanne goes off to the States for a visit, her little American friends will be asking her if all French people drink coke and eat McDonald's.


frog4america said...

Coke in a baby bottle ? One can hope Jose Bove, this proud defender of core french values, will fight to restore our proud tradition of filling baby bottles with wine, Sacre Bleu ! What's next ? Fried Chicken, Corn and barbecue sauce flavoured baby foods ? Lol.

It's true you can eat and drink very well in the US and it's kind of ironic that, in a country where you cant find a decent steak, people have these stereotypes about a world leader in meat aging and cooking. Or have theses stereotypes about everyone drinking Coke when there's nothing even remotely close here to the American savoir-faire in high quality organic non alcoholic beverages.

Another funny fact : the french obsession with McDonald's. I dont know if you're aware of it, but Burger King had a few restaurants in France for a while. Quality was light years away from McDonald's, the meat was tender and juicy, the veggies were so fresh you'd have sworn they were hand picked from a garden 5 minutes before, and i havent met a single person that wasnt shocked and awed by BK's overwhelming superiority over MickeyD's. Yet BK closed all french operations for lack of customers while McDonald's has become a national fixture. Add to that the fact that McDonald's isnt even the leader in the US market (it lags behind BK, wendy's and another chain but i dont remember which one) and it makes the whole situation all the more intriguing.

Elisabeth said...

Coke in a baby bottle? Kind of pathetic... Of course, a little calva, that wouldn't hurt...

Reb said...

Frog4 - you have solved the mystery of why there is no BK here and why my husband NEEDS to get it whenever we see one out of the country. Don't forget that in France, there is also Quick - the BElgian hamburger joint - which is even worse than McDo (if you can imagine).

Elisabeth - yes, very sad indeed. I'd also go for calva.

frog4america said...

Actually i kinda like Quick (which, by the way, has been bought by its french operation recently, making it 100% french and... 100% ironic). I like their creativity, they constantly come up with new recipes, mixing burgers with typically french ingredients. I'll never ever get tired of the Quick'n'toast although i wish they'd replace the cheese with lettuce and tomatoes. But hey i havent had a real burger in years so that may be an explanation.

I know there are BKs in Germany and the UK but even when we visited Alsace in northeastern france we still had to drive a total of 400 miles to get to the nearest restaurant in Germany and back so we relented. We only drove 200 miles just to see the nearest Wal-Mart and back. It's the only thing we saw of Germany that time.

But we intend to fly over to the UK soon though as they have a Wendy's at the London airport. But hey i dont want play into the stereotype of the ugly frenchman so we'll visit other places too... like a local BK... and Dunkin' Donuts... and Krispy Kreme... and TGI Friday's.

Emily said...

Yikes, that photo shocked me too. Here I'm thinking about her rotting teeth, but they're just baby teeth that are going to fall out soon enough, right? But, then I think about her wanting to drink too much Coke in her life.

I too am often asked if I eat a lot of McDonald's hamburgers. It makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

That photo isn't showing a coke bottle?? It looks like a beer bottle to me when I enlarge it. Is it a baby bottle designed to look like a beer or champagne bottle??

Sarah said...

It is SO "ghetto" to put anything but formula or milk in a baby bottle!

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