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Is France truly centre of foodies’ universe?

Everyone, it seems, enthuses about French food – see any issue of The Connexion, for example! But what does the phrase “French food” actually mean?

I suggest it means (a) meals in French restaurants, (b) ingredients in French shops, and (c) recipes in French cookery books.

There are some wonderful meals available in French restaurants – and there are dreadful ones: just as in the UK, or in any country.

In any developed country, you can cook the same meal at home for a fraction of the cost: it should be one of life’s great pleasures.

The majority of the ingredients sold in French shops can be found in British shops too. Sure, a few ingredients are available here which are not readily available in the UK – but a few are not available here which are available in the UK.

Although certain recipes in French cookery books are indisputably French, I have seen others which originated elsewhere but which cookery books pass off as French. The best French recipes are excellent, and the worst awful – just as in any other country.

In brief, although I am happy living in France, I am sceptical about France’s claim to be the gastronomic centre of the universe.

What do other readers think?

Stephen Morgan, Finistère

Stephen Morgan wins the Connexion letter of the month for September 2018 and a copy of the Connexion Puzzle Book.

Please include your name and address in any correspondence; we can withhold it on request. The Editor’s decision is final. Write to: The Connexion, Patio Palace, 41 avenue Hector Otto, 98000 Monaco or email

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