Okay, France. Let’s talk for a second. Grub Street knows we Americans haven’t always had the easiest relationship with you when it comes to cross-cultural exchange. You sent such delightful innovations as haute cuisine, Champagne, and foie gras (thanks again for that one), and we, er, sent you our fried-chicken chains and sauces made from corn syrup. And, yes, we know some of our countrymen haven’t always exemplified maturity when it comes to this relationship and that, in the end, you have to remember who you are from a cultural standpoint, lest our Happy Meals replace your every last 300-year-old bistro. Still, we have to admit we were hurt when we read the news in the L.A. Times this morning that you were banning ketchup from your school cafeterias.
It’s hard not to take a ban on our culinary contributions a little personally. The reason: We know you’re not banning it for taste reasons. Everyone agrees the stuff tastes so, so good. So is it us, France? Is the whole thing just too American?
So, we’ve got to ask: a law against ketchup? Isn’t this over-reacting? We mean really, France, we never told you to go squeezing it into your boeuf bourguignon or to go chugging the stuff down on its own.
In the end, ketchup, as almost any American can tell you, is primarily for burgers and fries. So we can concede that your decision to limit ketchup consumption to French fries alone is an astute one, ensuring the condiment its proper place in both French and American lives. That is, at least until Jose Andres reinvents the stuff, something we think we can both agree on looking forward to as we continue this life together.