Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The French Food "Crisis": Downgraded From Red to Orange

Adam Gopnik had an interesting article in The New Yorker recently.

It was yet another omen of the cataclysm in French cooking that has now been foretold so many times that it's no wonder Nostradamus was French.

Gopnik's focus was on a French culinary movement called "Le Fooding." The words, it is explained, are supposed to be an amalgamation of "food" and "feeling" but instead give the impression of one of those odd French absorptions of English, like "le shampooing" or "le smoking." So the movement gets an A- (or, should I say, a zéro) for vocabulary.

Even Gopnik seems to be weary of this so-called "crisis" in French cooking - though not weary enough to stop collecting Condé Nast paychecks from writing about it repeatedly:

"...surely, if the same crisis continues for decades and decades it is no longer a crisis but merely a condition."

So, now it's a "condition" - downgraded from natural disaster to medical ailment.

Gopnik has just placed French cuisine on an orange alert.

Le Fooding seems to be a movement of younger people who seek good food at decent prices - imagine that. They don't care about the exact quality of the ingredients (that would be the "slow food" movement). It seems they're seeking something between slow food and fast food - perhaps allegretto?

The group is apparently now storming the Chrysler Building now that they've already stormed the Bastil- er, I mean Michelin. They're staging events in New York City and their new guide has already sold out in the U.S.

I've never really believed in the so-called French food crisis. In my mind, it is one of those media-created (so says a member of the media) pre-historic labels, and by pre-historic I mean that the problem is labeled while it is happening without the benefit of an historian's educated hindsight to make sense of it all.

I'll be happy once someone finally agrees with me that, whether "crisis" or "condition," we can admit that these "sound-the-alarm"-style movements are just as much about one generation reacting to another as they are about food, the environment, cloth diapering, et cetera.

There is, and will continue to be, bad food everywhere - it's a fact of nature. The task is to seek out the good and help it sustain itself and stop sounding the alarm every fifteen seconds.

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