Monday, 16 June 2008

Franco-American cuisine

I've learned a lot about American cuisine over the past week.

It started when LIDL - a very cheap German chain- had it's weekly Wednesday special which was American food. I was so excited at the thought of finding cheap maple syrup and cheddar cheese. I rushed to LIDL at lunch time and looked for the American display. I finally found a metal basket full of microwave popcorn, marshmallows, peanut butter, maple flavored corn flakes (???) and dried cranberries, the only redeeming item there. I stood there for a second asking myself if this is what my country's cuisine was reduced to. I tried to be positive and actually convinced myself that this was merely the indigenous products (the argument is a bit loose for the marshmallows, but it made me feel better). Jerome's take on it was that American cuisine is so varied that of course it's reduced to it's bare and stereotypical basics.

Then on Saturday, after 3 hours at Ikea (don't get me started on the kitchens please!), we were starved and did something we rarely do - we went to a chain restaurant. It's not that we're against them, but we just prefer local fare. We ended up at the Buffalo Grill home to the only decent hamburger and chili con carne around in the French Hexagon. It's kind of like Ponderosa Steak House meets Denny's when it was still called Sambo's and totally unpolitically correct (Totem pole and all). And they do have decent hamburgers and chili con carne - so decent that my friends and I went there for my birthday this year. I was excited for Suzanne to taste her first "real" hamburger. I was bemused when the waiter asked what kind of sauce we wanted on our "famous" (what they call their burgers): roquefort, bernaise or BBQ. Ketchup anyone?!

Suzanne's first encounter with ketchup was interesting - she seemed to think it was some kind of dessert as she dipped her fries in the little pot and sucked it off.

When the waiter came back to take our plates, Suzanne started moo-ing like a cow after seeing the cattle horns on his red and black cowboy'esque shirt. He launched into an explanation that aux Etats Unis, they have bison. They of course have cows too, but this is a bison on his shirt and not a cow.

I'm not complaining. I'm happy to be able to fill my hamburger void, but next time I'll ask them to hold the cattle diatribe which was a total joy-kill, and give me more ketchup.


Anonymous said...

Aren't you being a little prudish for blasting the waiter and his "cattle diatribe"? The waiter must have thought he was merely addressing some French folks. And he offered the explanation by way of promoting that particular chain of restaurant, being just amicable and courteous. If the obvious was offensive to you an American as an obvious precision, maybe you should go home to have the same meal served up without a mention... You are in France after all, and an American style meal is not something ordinary. Just be glad that you do have access to that type of eatery instead of complaining about the waiter being a "joy kill"... Was he supposed to treat you different because you're an American? He treated you as a regular customer and simply expounded on the chain logo... Seems to me he wasn't going to win either way!!

wcs said...

Oh, now I want a hamburger!

Reb said...

I told myself I wouldn't reply to anonymous comments since I think anyone who has an opinion to express should so it openly. But the troll does have a point.

I was not being fair to the dorky waiter, but I was not criticizing him or calling him a joy kill. I was merely disappointed that he snapped me out of my American moment.

And to any future trolls, you will instantly deleted.

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