A couple of days ago I was enjoying a lovely day with one of my fabulous new-found friends when we came across something so funny and disturbing that I just had to share it…
I had met up with my friend for some tea and jaunt through the park very happy to reconnect and catch up with her after my two month hiatus to the States. We strolled through some of her most favorites spots enjoying the sun and the much needed girl-time. Then, my friend asked if I had been to Le Bon Marché yet. I had heard tales of the famed Le Bon Marché, but being that I would probably never be able to afford anything in that incredibly lavish, beautifully designed department store (consider it as if Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s had a baby, and then that baby married Saks Fifth Avenue), I answered “no”. This was quickly answered with a “I have to take you! You’ll love it!” Trusting the infallible instincts of my Paris-savvy friend, I followed.
And off we went to Le Bon Marché …
…and it was everything my broke self imagined it would be. I could feel my wallet tremble the moment we walked in. I mean, every square meter (and since this measurement is neither in inches nor feet, I can’t really tell you exactly how much this is, but trust me, it’s huge) was covered with name brands, the kinds of brands mostly seen either on catwalks or in Architectural Digest. Marc Jabocs canoodled with Dianne Von Furstenburg while Calvin Klein lazily napped on a James Eames chair. Even if I had wanted to buy something, I wouldn’t have been able to afford so much as the pen with which to sign the credit card receipt. But, at least it was free to look. (Thank goodness for window shopping!)
Then my friend suggested we head downstairs to the epicerie (translation: high end grocery store.) As one would expect, the grocery section was equally as fabulous and well designed as the rest of the store, only the brands here were a bit more in my price range. My mouth watered as I saw all the perfectly stacked, well packaged goodies this floor had to offer. That is, until I hit the “Amerique” section, also known as stuff from the good ole US of A. There, standing in front of the Asian section and behind the TexMex/Espanol section (first off, the French love TexMex but have absolutely no idea exactly what that means, and second, apparently a country as close as Spain can’t get enough of their goodies across the border to merit an entire section) was a section completely dedicated to all those edible comforts from home that American expats would crave. Or, was it?
I was shocked to see exactly what the French thought Americans love to eat. Let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Here’s a bit of the “American” shopping list:
* Three different varieties of marshmallows (unless you through in some graham crackers, a Hershey’s bar, and a campfire, not sure why we would need these in such abundance)
* Jars of fluff (do people still eat that stuff?)
* Jars of generic peanut butter (come on, not even Skippy!)
* Generic brand Thousand Island and Ranch dressing (uhm…?)
* Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette (okay, you got one right)
* and Corn Syrup. Wait…what? Corn syrup?
There, sandwiched between the tried and true Thanksgiving accoutrements of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberries and Libby’s Pumpkin Pie mix, sat the piece de resistence…Corn Syrup… both the light and dark variations.
Corn syrup? Really? Of all the things they could have imported 6,000 miles away for us creature comfort craving expats, they import corn syrup? Seriously, I could have easily given them a list of at least five hundred other products I would way prefer other than corn syrup. And who’s buying that? I’d like to see that person to give ‘em old fashioned smack in the face. I mean, the world makes fun of Americans for being so fat, and we all know that one of the main reasons that America is so fat is because of the corn syrup. So, to import the stuff that causes the fat is just a plain cruel joke. It’s as if France took on the role of drug dealer, selling corn crack to all us chalky, wide-eyed, emaciated junkies calling it the latest designer drug…only that wouldn’t happen because since we’re freebasing corn syrup, we wouldn’t be emaciated. We’d be fat.
Not to mention we are in a country that makes some of the best pastries and desserts in the world sans corn syrup. Couldn’t we find a much more flavorful, healthier, French alternative to meet our corn syrup needs? Apparently not…
Both intrigued and saddened at this sight, I had a bit of an epiphany…you can take the corn syrup out of the person, and you can take the person out of the country, but you just can’t take the corn syrup out of the culture.
I beg…Jamie Oliver…let your revolution reign!
(featured image courtesy of Chrisrobin.com)