Thursday, August 1, 2013

Coucou, tu as pris le pain?

In another sad sign that French culture is being dragged down to American levels, the French bakers and millers lobby has started a national campaign modeled on our "Got Milk?" program to reverse the declining consumption of bread in France. The slogan Coucou, tu as pris le pain? means “Hi there, have you picked up the bread?”and their hope is that simply the casual greeting coucou will become synonymous with bread.

Good luck.

The delicious irony of this is that the campaign is being directed in part by the commercial bakeries  -- the very same people responsible for the decline of French bread to begin with. After the Second World War, the traditional, sourdough-leavened, long-fermentation baguette was replaced by machine-made bread full of additives that strengthened the dough against the rough handling of mechanization and shortened the rise time. The result: lifeless baguettes that tasted like cotton.

The commercial bakers would like nothing better than to see the French return to their earlier levels of bread consumption. That would be -- are you ready for this -- a whopping THREE baguettes per person per day in 1900!! As recently as 1970 the French still averaged an entire baguettes per person, and the current level is about half a loaf. Which is still a lot of bread by American standards.

You can find my own artisan baguettes recipe here, if this posting has made you hungry.

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