France Part 6: Questions for Nations

June 24, 2010 at 6:21 AM | Posted in Food, France | 6 Comments

at Regalade


Just a few days ago I thought that I had my fill of great food. I’d look at yet another beautiful menu with enticing ideas, dictating that I had to make three choices for my meal and wonder if such an array was really necessary. The money involved was, almost always, reasonable — from $28 to $35, so it was not that. Of course, of the many meals we had in France I never left a morsel uneaten and only once did we leave 2 ounces of wine in the bottle    

White Asparagus in season


But, as Joni Mitchel sang, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone”, I am disconsolate that there were some times when, stuffed, we skipped a meal. I write this dirge after “dining” at a medium to upscale seafood restaurant in Rochester Hills, Michigan. The entrees themselves, bathed in gunk were over $25. and some $29. The fish come with mashed potatoes and a “medley” of  dead vegetables. For $6. extra I received a Caesar Salad that could only be called dilapidated. The glass of wine, for $10, was the type that you’d get in a supermarket for $10. a bottle (At Trader Joe’s it would be $6.)    

The finishing touch


But I am happy to report that three different people interrupted me to ask how I was “enjoying” my dinner. Oh yes, I wanted to growl, I who so recently dined at Les Caves de Madeline and at Le Montrachet, oh I am just delighted by this dreck. Oh yes, I wanted to spit out, I am just thrilled that I may never again taste the ingenious food at KBG in Paris.    

Do we as a nation so hate food that we see no reason to put any effort into it?  

Can the disgraced French World Cup Team learn from its restauranteurs? 

These are my questions.


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  1. Tom..I read your blog for the first time…very good reading !-Bill

    • Hey, Bill, Thanks for reading. Look forward to talking soon!

  2. Tom, another great post. I remember eating in the HP cafeteria in Lyon, France thinking that it would be the best restaurant in Milpitas and at least the third best in San Jose. My hosts apologized for not making more upscale arrangements and I fought the urge to share how impressed I was with the lunch we were eating. If I had, all around the table would be quietly thinking of the question you raise about our general disinterest in food. As I watched the chef dollop some whipped potatoes on my plate and sculpt a fish design with the edge of a spatula before gently placing a wonderful grilled salmon filet next to it, I was too busy selecting a half-bottle of white table wine to wish I was elsewhere. In the US, Alice Waters becomes an icon because she opens Chez Panise with the concept of using fresh, locally grown ingredients. That says a lot.

    • We never got to Lyon and I know that it is often noted as the true home of French cooking. I think that one meal a month in France for the rest of my life would suit me.

      Yes, those perfect half bottles of white!

  3. Great post but I bet the French waiter didn’t ask if you were enjoying your meal! As for their soccer team – they’re beyond learning anything.

    • The service was really excellent, with one exception, in France. Never cloying — highly professional. They didn’t have waitresses who were big and fat which is the new US specialty.

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