The rise and fall of French cuisine

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The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Pepper Pig » July 16th, 2019, 10:26 am

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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby earthmaiden » July 16th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Can't say I disagree with any of it - it is disappointing to think that in the modern world of global cuisine and quick or take away meals that much will be lost as well as gained. Some things have probably gone for good, others will re-emerge. The eyes of the under 35s I work with only really light up at the words 'Burger King' or 'MacDonalds' where they buy more than one 'meal' to eat at the same sitting and add hot sauce to everything, maybe their tastes will expand as they get older but I think they are quite representative of their age/type.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Herbidacious » July 16th, 2019, 2:28 pm

Food in France strikes me as ultra conventional and conservative. It's either French, and pretty much a menu that you could recite without seeing, or it's not French. But, I may not be paying attention, as I can't eat any of it anyway.

The under 30s at work do seem to like junky food - I think the widespread appeal of this is very evident in 20 somethings in general when you look at the explosion of vegan food and the nature of what's being served up in pubs (I suspect most of the newly converted vegans are in their 20s.) It's more often than not veggie burgers, vegan nuggets and the like. Maybe the appeal is partly down to having bigger appetites and faster metabolisms at their age? And the cost, of course. I think all of them buy lunches from Leather Lane market near work (now mainly street food) quite regularly. Not sure if that counts as junk food. Some of it maybe, a lot of it not. They do talk about going out for proper meals, but budget is clearly a consideration. Cheapish good food is not that easy to get in London at least? A meal in a chain masquerading as a gastropub is often only so so, but more often than not will come to £40 for two people.

However I am not sure that this junk food obsession is new. I have never been a big junk food fan (I have never had a burger in a Macdonalds) but I think I am unusual among my contemporaries in this regard. My husband's default seems to be a burger or fish and chips (although he tries not to go for them, from a calorie point of view, and indeed can't go for the latter now he's gone vegetarian.) My tastes have also no doubt been shaped by the (lack of) availability of vegetarian options (and money) when I was in my 20s, and even 30s.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby StokeySue » July 16th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Yes, a good article
I’m a little older than the writer, and I’ve had something of his father’s experiences and some of his

I’ve had wonderful food in France, all sorts of things from snails through fruits de mer to salade de gesiers

I also remember the tedious meals he recounts of pâté or postage, followed by anatomically indistinct bifteck, cheese and fruit or ice cream. One of the worst was a family lunch at a restaurant in Lot et Garonne in 2007: bought pâté with leathery toast; Findus battered cod (oven cooked) with green beans; canned fruit cocktail with optional ice cream. To be fair we were a big party but really what shocked me was that most of the cousins though it was fine and lapped it up! When needing an inexpensive but nice solo dinner in Paris ca 2000 I used to seek out neighbourhood Algerian restaurants (I also had one wonderful dinner in a fashionable restaurant in Montmartre)
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Prettykiwicrazy » July 16th, 2019, 4:02 pm

I'm in my early thirties and do admit I like an odd McDonalds. I think for my generation , growing up it was seen as a treat to go to McDs, BK etc with the infiltration of American culture . I think as well, our cooking at school was very basic and there wasn't really an emphasis on healthy eating.

Out of all my friends, I'm probably the biggest foodie. I love cooking at work ( I run a house for adults with learning disabilities) and love trying new foods etc. My friends are amazed that I can bake a cake without a recipe and most of them cook fairly basic meals , curry with sauce from a jar, cottage pie etc.

I think French food just isn't seen as fashionable . There's a massive rise in Middle Eastern food, noodle places are always popular and you'll always get burger places . Even French chefs such as Raymond Blanc aren't really used by young people .
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby wargarden » July 16th, 2019, 5:43 pm

sound to be there is lack innovation in mid level restaurants. High cost, inflexible labor
and poor service which can kill any type eatery. Also french have gotten lazy. but also
home kitchen have caught up to restaurant quality equipment and ingredients.
Taxes in France are still to high.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby StokeySue » July 16th, 2019, 6:24 pm

I was sufficiently intrigued to look up the restaurant where we had the family meal, we went there because it was large, handy for where we needed to be, and had sentimental attachment for many of the (French) cousins from when they were children and it was the bakery and their friend lived there

Shortly after our lunch it went bust, it was turned into a fairly fancy restaurant with a few room, probably too fancy for a small town with no passing trade. It’s now rather a nice looking moderately upmarket guest house, I hope it does well. There were two much better simple restaurants in the town square, too small for 24 assorted relatives.

I’ve mentioned before that at the Literary Festival we had a really good panel discussion of a current revival of interest eta in French food) in the UK, with Diana Henry, Felicity Cloake and Alex James. And Wilf the terrier.

https://le-moulin-de-boulede.com/
Last edited by StokeySue on July 16th, 2019, 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Ratatouille » July 16th, 2019, 6:33 pm

As the family were observing last week the French attitude to food and wine is and always has been extremely parochial - that's the French for you.

Very few wines other than French and even local wines in even fine wine shops. Very few restaurants with cuisines from elsewhere in Europe let alone the rest of the world with the possible exception of Paris but even then I have eaten better and far more diversely in London than in Paris.

Having said this there is still huge pleasure in the many small dedicated local restaurants, bistros etc that don't cost a fortune, have huge character and are memorable. Also many of the newer top chefs, like my heroine Anne -Sophie Pic, have take the classic techniques and turned them on their heads to produce stunning modern but still French cuisines.

I'll still be out there next weekend. I love \french food and my local chef friends who never ever let me down.
Cooking for those you care about is the most profound expression of love - Anne-Sophie Pic
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby miss mouse » July 16th, 2019, 7:20 pm

I have had mostly wonderful meals in France. V professional service, charm and a lot of help when my feeble French could not cope. Of course some were erm less good verging on disaster but not many. This is not high-end dining experiences, Logis style hotels.

Meanwhile I see that the top end London restauranteurs are offering heavy discounts. Mmmm.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Pepper Pig » July 16th, 2019, 8:25 pm

wargarden wrote:sound to be there is lack innovation in mid level restaurants. High cost, inflexible labor
and poor service which can kill any type eatery. Also french have gotten lazy. but also
home kitchen have caught up to restaurant quality equipment and ingredients.
Taxes in France are still to high.


Your input will be more welcome when you can string a proper sentence together wargarden, Guessing what you mean is rather tiresome.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby wargarden » July 17th, 2019, 6:49 am

basically the article say all cliches about the french and french food are true,
1. french food is to expensive and over priced for what you get on the plate.
2. french labor laws make hard to hire and fired staff
3. french labor laws limit how long employees can work
4. french mid level restaurants failed innovate there menus
5. Frances food regulation restrict change.
6. modern home kitchens can now get equipment that can give professional results
7. french hurt there cuisine by taking short cuts in ingredient and how they source them
8. you can get great wine from allover world now a days with quality of french wine at half price.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby StokeySue » July 17th, 2019, 8:49 am

Wargarden, you don’t seem to have read the same article as I did, which focused a lot more on the food and a lot less on the economics of running a small business, and the tax mentioned was VAT/TVA which is sales tax, not business in general

For your points 2 and 3, I’d point out that the Working Time Directive is Europe wide, not specifically French
And Europeans generally find US employment practices horrific, in particular firing people on the spot just on a whim and “less than minimum wage” jobs (illegal and also culturally unacceptable throughout Europe). This also leads to the US tipping culture which bemuses and worries Europeans, and in fact means that eating out in the US is not as much cheaper as it looks at first glance where in moderately priced places prices may be given as STC (service et taxe compris, fully inclusive)

Having linked to what was a once a very disappointing restaurant in my OH’s home time, here are our two favourites which look much the same alas the last time I went there some years ago, and are popular with locals and tourists alike

https://leffetmaison.com/

http://restaurant-lejardin47.fr/
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Ratatouille » July 17th, 2019, 9:31 am

Wargarden,
Reading about things is not the same as experiencing them, Sue has lived in France and we have been living here for many years now.

For example in France, staff in the restaurant business are very largely treated with respect. They have to be qualified and they receive at least a minimum wage and what is more, as Sue says they don't have to rely on tips to make up for pathetic wages - there is rarely a service charge on French bills. You only tip for special services and kindness and that is entirely up to the diner.

I do not know of any French food regulations which restrict change. There are some very sensible regulations governing allergens, declaring provenance and bought in menu items - for example one of our chef friends has a dish by dish resume of possible allegens at the back of the menu and they change the daily menu daily. The other buys in ice creams and sorbets from a local artisanal producer and states this on his menu.

There is a Macdo's in town uaualy nearly empty. The only 2 "foreign places nearby are a Moroccan (Lots of Moroccans living here) and a pizzaria. But then we are just along the coast from Italy and there are many menu improts in Provencal cooking.
Cooking for those you care about is the most profound expression of love - Anne-Sophie Pic
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby scullion » July 17th, 2019, 10:13 am

interesting article.
i've only eaten at one or two 'french' restaurants in france - the menus aren't really vegetarian friendly but, thankfully, with the flowering of ethnic diversity in much of europe vegetarian options have increased - particularly in middle eastern restaurants.
maybe traditional (the high end) french cuisine has suffered under the similar straitjacket placed on the french language. if a set of rules is imposed that allows no evolution the result becomes a paucity of choice compared with the wider world of changing and developing tastes and offerings.

i have to say, the laws on firing people are quite perverse, in france.
we have friends who have been having major problems getting rid of an employee they've had for a short time who refuses to do the things he was employed to do and is demanding a few thousand euros to leave their employment (it appears he has done the same to other employers) they can't just fire him and have had to go to tribunals etc. they were thinking of just closing the business in order to get rid of him. they also have friends who have lost their hotel (home and income) due to the severance pay demanded (and awarded) by a bad employee.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Herbidacious » July 17th, 2019, 11:31 am

In our nearest town, there is one highish end restaurant which I can't go to but which is apparently very good. The pizzeria has shut leaving the creperie-cum-pizzeria, a kebab shop and a couple of cafes and a PMU that does sandwiches. It's a pity... It's a beautiful little medieval town that has much potential for many things, but is always empty, and every time we go, there are more houses for sale. However this is more to do with economics than anything peculiar to French ways, possibly...? I suppose it's a bit off the beaten track for tourism. Still, Fete de Moyen Age this year, so it will come alive for two days, complete with medieval food and the usual meat and booze fest ;)

It is no doubt a mistake to make sweeping generalizations about France anyway. It's a bit country. Paris is very different from rural Normandy (where not very good pizzerias and kebabs shops are ubiquitous, along with more traditional fare, but little else), which is different from other parts of France too. Last time I was in Paris (March) it was clear that the vegan thing is making in roads there (in urban L'Herault too). This is not high end food, but suggests a mindset shift.
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby earthmaiden » July 17th, 2019, 11:53 am

Prettykiwicrazy wrote:I'm in my early thirties

Wasn't tarring everyone with the same brush of course! I am just always surprised at the reception mention of BK or Maccydos gets - a bit over and above what is deserved I feel, I am not above enjoying them sometimes but I also love dishes slow cooked from scratch with good ingredients. I think lack of time is a factor but we seem to be heading for a world where everything is ready to eat and flavoured with cumin .... :evil:
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby StokeySue » July 17th, 2019, 12:13 pm

Ratatouille wrote:I do not know of any French food regulations which restrict change.

I assumed that was a misunderstanding of the writer’s comments on AOC and PDO
There is no need to only stick with traditional or certified produce, but they do perhaps lead to inertia in some quarters

If you want to make, for example, a dish similar to Tartiflette but using a cheese other than Reblochon AOC nobody stops you as long as you are honest about it in fact François at Le Jardin restaurant I linked to above would probably make good advertising copy out of it “try our Perigord tartiflette made with bacon from les Landes, Cancon potatoes, and local artisan cheese!”
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Prettykiwicrazy » July 17th, 2019, 12:33 pm

No offence taken Eartmaiden . I just know (without causing offence myself, that I’m a bit younger than perhaps the average poster here). Sometimes things can generally be seen differently through different generations . I always think it looks quite odd to see someone say 60 plus in a fast food restaurant, though of course no reason they shouldn’t .

I was never brought up around French food , although did go to France several times as a child, but mainly remember the bread and pastries . Apart from British food growing up , the only other cuisine we ate was Italian . As a teenager we started having curries and sweet and sour etc. To be fair my mum wasn’t a great cook when she was younger and had to contend with my autistic brothers food issues .

But yes, French food has just never really featured , or been something I’ve overly been interested in cooking . I’ve cooked a bouguignon and also coq au reisling . Oh yes and creme brûlée too
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Re: The rise and fall of French cuisine

Postby Herbidacious » July 17th, 2019, 1:01 pm

Meat and two veg and the occaisional Vesta curry growing up was the extent the dietary influences chez nous ;)
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