I spent my 13th birthday in France with my French pen pal’s family, who celebrated the occasion with three local birthday cakes. pastry shopthe elegant presentation of nuns, thousand sheetsAnd financial.
Last week, a queue of about 400 people formed at the Westfield Forum in Les Halles, where the first French branch of the North Carolina-based donut chain Krispy Kreme was about to open. The marketing development had been intense, with thousands of free donuts distributed in the capital and flying posters that managed to tease both traditional French and pastry shop and the French president, with the slogan “resignation of macaroons» (“macaron, resign!”).
Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, said the posters were “illegal…and polluting”, but his complaint only served to highlight the particular disconnect in the national psyche when it comes to the invasion Anglo-Saxon Gallic culture.
While the French Academy is waging its vain war against the rampant taint of Anglicisms, and the French chattering classes are getting angry at the feather-light comedy of the Franco-American. disagreementEmily in Paris, or Napoleon by Ridley Scott, the most precious of French cultural treasures, its cuisine, gave in with indecent enthusiasm to the seduction of fast food.
In 1999, José Bové, a politician and farmer with a magnificent moustache, led a group of activists who demolished a partly built McDonald’s in Millau, in the south of France. The protest attracted widespread publicity and failed to completely stop the advance of McDonald’s and other fast food chains. In 2021, France had more McDonald’s branches than any other European country.
Fried chicken chain Popeyes, which opened its first branch at Gare du Nord this year, plans to open 300 outlets by 2030, while Krispy Kreme also has bold expansion plans. “We are adding something to France, without taking anything away,” said Alexandre Maizoué, general manager of Krispy Kreme in France.
Indeed, it is – and it appears to be a growing obesity problem that follows the growing popularity of fast food. Between 1997 and 2020, obesity among French adults doubled, with rates increasing more quickly among younger age groups.
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are,” observed Jean Brillat-Savarin, the great writer of French gastronomy.
Brillat-Savarin loved the United States, where he spent several happy years. But it’s hard to imagine that he would have thought of a fast food diet that would give him character.
Turkey is finished
While in the United States, Brillat-Savarin ate a wild turkey, writing that it was “charming to look at, pleasant to smell, and delicious to taste.”
Amid the many tips in the Telegraph’s letters pages on the best way to cook a turkey, one correspondent disagrees. “Why do so many people persist in trying to find ways to make this most miserable of foods vaguely edible,” asked Vincent Hearne of Chinon, Indre-et-Loire.
He has a point. A whiff of despair arises from the suggestions of many excellent cooks when they have to make the creature palatable. Jane Grigson resurrects a Victorian dish of boiled turkey with celery, while Alice B Toklas goes for broke, with a stuffing of “four cups of whole truffles”. Alternatively, you can just get a goose.