Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Big Bread Theory
My friend recently reminded me about a conversation her husband had with my husband, Fred, when her family was visiting us in Paris. Her husband asked Fred what the French thought about Americans. Fred said that French think Americans have big bread. With all the history between the two countries and the stereotypes flung about by their people, I found his answer original (as did my friends, hence the subject's reprise).
Perhaps Fred was serious, or being funny, or searching for something neutral to say as not to come across as “the arrogant Frenchman”. I could ask him, but the idea that he could have been serious makes me laugh so hard that I prefer ignorant bliss. The truth is the French do seem to have bread envy, although I’m not sure why given the shape of a baguette.
Even Fred likes to use big ol' American bread for his sandwich making. That's Mount Rushmore on the bag. The problem is the bread won’t fit into the French sandwich bags, nor do the king-sized slices fit into my French toaster. I have to rotate the bread mid-way through to make sure the half-inch towering out gets grilled.
In fact, everything large in France is "American" - the American refrigerator, the American washing machine, etc. – and French people love them. So the next time you hear a French person say that Americans are big, you should consider that they aren't being rude or making an insulting generalization, they're delivering a compliment.