Bon Appétit

Merci France for all that cheese. I often admire French culture and the beautiful standards that she has, as a nation, not merely attained but steadfastly promulgated about the globe. The whole point of France as an entity has been to articulate magnificently what complete and utter plonkers we Anglo Saxons are in virtually any realm possible, apart from rugby which was a game we invented anyway. France has been doing this for years. This is why we have found them annoying and “arrogant”. The term arrogant is basically a term we use when someone else is annoyingly good at something. This of course is the Froggies to a tee.
They love beauty and they love maintaining standards.

When I open my LinkedIn account daily I am deluged with a dismal tsunami of amazing leaders and rabid corporate capitalists. This is why I have stopped being an accountant on LinkedIn and have morphed into an amateur writer. Most of these outstanding yet vastly underemployed leaders come from Anglo Saxon countries such as the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K. and to a significantly lesser degree, Australia (most of the Aussies are found on Twitter, Facebook or Youporn). We Kiwi try bravely to keep up, but it’s a farce really. Most of our corporates were Australasianised years ago. Try maintaining cultural standards when you report to a management team of Australians. They more or less do for us what they did to the Aborigines. I see nearly all of these leaders advising one another on how to be strong, exceptional leaders. There are so many outstanding leaders on LinkedIn in fact, that it pays to be, like me, a mere serf or peasant within the corporate arena. This way you are in huge demand, since for every working dullard there are more than 100 or so would-be managers desperately lurking about, frothing at the bit and queuing up for someone to lead.

Then they need to post some drivel about it.

It’s all about strategy on LinkedIn. Management and corporate strategy. But I’m in the French Wine Society (now the Wine Scholar Guild) on there and they talk a totally different game. They talk about actual products rather than their careers and they talk about beauty. These are cultural issues.

Consider the vast array of French products – and yes cheese figures highly here, especially brie and camembert. Any country that cobbles together over 240 varieties of cheese and then produces all that wine to serve along with them is to be commended as simply outstanding. They deserve medals. Yet it is not only cheese that the French do well; wine, perfume, fine art, fashion, design, architecture, liqueurs, shoes, handbags, electronics, scientific innovation (check out their trains), trendy cars and the list goes on. Somewhere in the list I would squeeze in “women”, admittedly at the risk of treating women as a consumable product. If we consider the movie industry however then they definitely are a consumable product. I often remark that whereas we Anglos for political reasons made our actresses actors, the French actresses have to a person steadfastly remained as actresses. This is my point. We Anglos do not understand nature itself – we think we can overrule her and make male and female the same thing. Notice how nature herself is female. Why on earth would anyone do that? French actresses are not actors but beautiful, feminine, intelligent, sophisticated and sexy actresses rather than the parade of skeletal, twerking skanks out on day release from rehab that constitute the female film stars of Hollywood. Anglo Saxon female beauty in the media veers longingly toward the slut yet the French image of beauty has remained steadfastly intact.

Bravo La France.

Consider a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Not just a bottle of wine but a celebration of tradition, beauty and cultural standards. I’ve been to lunch with Australian management and they mostly are not even aware that this wine exists. They drink cold boutique beers. That is their mark of sophistication. (Educated Australian management drink cold Japanese beers). Well I prefer the Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Look I am not being pompous here, I come from New Zealand . We seem to have done for cuisine and culture what Donald Trump did for hair styling on a balmy day. Over here in New Zealand I often see the phrase “Gourmet Pie” stoically advertised. This in fact constitutes a comestible crime of cosmic proportions. There is simply no such thing as a gourmet pie – two words that should never be squished together. If something is gourmet, then you don’t need to label it gourmet. Gourmet is a process that speaks for itself. If you need to shout at everyone that you are a Gourmand then you probably are not. That‘s like going to a party and telling all the ladies that you are tremendously handsome and sophisticated. It probably won’t work. When we say “gourmet pie” we simply mean a pie that has been made to an outstanding standard, for a pie. The French call that “pie”. If however they are stringently pressed them on the subject, they might mutter something like, “pie made to acceptable standard”.

Where will this all lead? Will we have “gourmet sausage roll” or “gourmet kebab”? A pie in my country is more or less something you eat when you are moving around, say driving a forklift or reversing a big truck. I have even seen public officials like bus drivers or police scoffing pies as they work. Most of the pastry ends up all over their shirt. Now these can’t be gourmet pies because the whole gourmet process involves actually sitting down to appreciate the extent to which someone who never bothered getting an MBA has gone to. That might be difficult when you are simultaneously reversing an excavator out of a tight corner.

We simply don’t get this stuff as a culture. We are not meant to. We are Anglo Saxons. Our skills are in war, invading other countries, ignoring other languages and being safe under the high ball.

Plenty of coffee shops or bakeries around the world are making vast pretensions at being patisseries, restaurants or cafes. They actually are not. Frankly we don’t even have a suitable English word for good dining in the entire English realm – the very word cuisine is a staunchly French word. That was the very reason we started using it. Yet we rarely consider that as we enter the restaurant, nod to the maître d’hôtel and then browse through the cuisine on the menu. These French are so good at what they do that they have us doing their job for them. We Anglos are so culturally subservient that we barely notice this. All around the world these establishments, be they in Tokyo, L.A. or Melbourne are pretending to be French. We even stole their regions, naming our wines and food after places like Champagne, Burgundy or Rhone and thereby subconsciously buying into French standards of beauty.

I have never seen a single purveyor of food pretending to be English.

Now I just popped the word “cuisine” into my online Thesaurus and it yielded, “cooking, fare, eats” and then somewhat dismally, “grub”. Do you see what I mean? That’s shocking. If Eskimos have 100 words for snow then we the English speaking nations covering this globe do not have a single respectable word for good food.

Meanwhile we have association football, Gaelic football (2 different associations), Australian football, American Gridiron, International Rules (so the Irish can play the Australians), Rugby Union, Rugby Sevens, Touch Rugby, Rugby Nines, Canadian Football and Rugby League.

That says a tremendous amount about us as a race.

Now the harbinger for an establishment of hardy comestibles in America is often a placard or sign with “Eats” optimistically written on it. Nothing wrong with American cuisine, Americans are polite and their food does a great job of representing who they are, but do you see my point? In writing the word “Eats” on a placard, they have managed to insult both the French on the issue of culinary standards and the English over the issue of the flagrant misuse of their native language. Are these the experts in culture? They pluralised eat. Firstly, it’s a verb. These Americans got excited though, they were hungry. They quickly made it a noun and then needlessly pluralised it. They screwed it over twice, then advertised it. Freud would have a field day on that.

This is more or less what Anglo Saxons will do with food. We butcher the very existence of it. We needlessly question the character of it. We bravely challenge the forces of nature and then we lose before we have even begun to begin.

Just look what we did to mayonnaise. We glooped it.

On LinkedIn, we need immense quantities of MBAs, lawyers or accountants to make good products. I‘m not sure if you have ever involved a lawyer or an accountant in any creative process whatsoever but take it from me, it is simply not a flash idea. The French needed no lawyers and not a single MBA to develop the impressive list of products that we subconsciously admire today. In fact when we look closely at the their vignerons we find that they were tightly organised into communes, as in communal, as in raging communist. The people making those outstanding products were more often than not, peasants or farmers. Farming peasants like we see in “Jean de Florette”. This is my point about the French system of natural excellence. They don’t give a stuff about all that corporate management crapola. Their products are magnificent bi-products of culture; whereas we have corporate managers, lawyers and accountants but few actual finished products for them to work with. That’s because we have over managed our products into non-existence. The U.K.’s biggest national product is now producing and issuing financial instruments, namely debt. We used to have peasants and farmers but no we cleverly replaced them with managers. To distinguish yourself as a manager you needed to rush off and get an MBA, so they all to a person, got one. I see six month MBA‘s advertised on LinkedIn now. Now the French would never undermine the quality of their product like that. But we do. We think it‘s clever.

This relentless pursuit of MBA’s spelled the downfall of all our food products. They mostly became sweetened gunge that you scrape off the bottom of a jar. Whatever product we did have in the first place was no doubt utterly reamed by some lawyer or an accountant, or worse still, an economist or half educated politician. If we made anything of value, some plonker came along and costed it, then decided it was more economically made in Portugal, Japan, South Korea or the South of China where we find the world’s highest concentrations of arsenic, mercury and lead poisoning. So under all this tremendous LinkedIn management we now get our food made over there in Guandong and then ship it on over so we can serve it up to our children. Lawyers, managers and accountants will do that for you. The result is that our food products are complete and utter bollocks whereas the French still proudly make their own cuisine.

Their products remain what a product should be – things of outstanding beauty.

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