top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

'France can't cook any more'

American journalist's book criticising tired French cuisine is translated into French

A LEADING American journalist has brought out a French edition of his book which criticises French food: Au Revoir to All That: The Rise and Fall of French Cuisine.

In the book, published in English in 2009 and on sale in eight countries, Michael Steinberger, sounds the alarm about the cooking of a country he sees as his second home.

According to Mr Steinberger, who writes on food in the New York Times and the Financial Times, French cooking is "tired", something he has observed over the last ten years.

"I noticed it in restaurants, where I was seeing more and more tired chefs making a tired cuisine, served on tired tablecloths.

"At the markets of Paris and the provinces that used to delight me, I noticed piles of Spanish tomatoes and Italian courgettes appearing."

Mr Steinberger says he has also been disappointed to see the rise of fast-food, with France becoming McDonald’s second biggest market. Seeing their restaurants was "like seeing peep shows in the Vatican".

Lovers of French food abroad are quicker to get upset about threats to it than are the French, he believes. "I wrote a chapter on raw milk camembert, to describe the anger in Japan and America when there was talk of banning it. In France, there was no violent debate."

The book is a case of being cruel to be kind, he says. "I want France to stay the best place to eat in the world."

Meanwhile, America has become the world’s No1 wine-consuming nation, pushing France into second place.

It is the first time Americans have drunk more wine than the French. The overall US wine market grew two per cent to 330 million cases in 2010: French consumption is nearly 321m cases.

However, France is still well ahead on per capita consumption, with an average 46 litres per year as against the US’s 9.8 litres (about a bottle a month).

The US wine market is worth $30 billion and more than 60 per cent of the wine drunk in the US comes from California, which supplies 241.8m cases.

The biggest-selling variety is chardonnay, which sells $2.03bn worth, followed by cabernet sauvignon on $1.38bn.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France