August 4th, 2023
This is a tribute to my American hedonists who, through many joyful encounters helped give birth to Biztronomy. I've been socializing with Americans for nearly 30 years now, mostly in a professional capacity, and these encounters have very often resulted in conversations as delicious as the food.
The concept of the American hedonist may seem paradoxical, especially when we think of the junk food and even more so when seen from a french perspective with its culinary excellence, even though, let's not forget, France is the leading market for McDonald's in Europe.
As a side note, culinary disparity could become the next great divide in the USA.
And yet, among American friends, colleagues and customers, I've discovered a real enthusiasm that Gallic restraint sometimes struggles to express. What's more, the American hedonists - at least the ones I know - spare no effort or resources in discovering and inquiring about French gastronomy and all its components, be it the « table » as we would say, customs, diners, cuisine or conversation. In fact, come to think of it, when I share a good meal with these cheerful individuals who dispense their curiosity with good humor and no modesty, I feel as though I've rediscovered Brillat-Savarin's enthusiasm. Perhaps it is Brillat-Savarin's stay in the young federation between 1794 & 1796 that lends Physiologie du Goût, or Physiology of taste its jovial, carefree tone!
In any case, among the legion of international gastronomes, they will be among the first to reserve their place for the blessing of the gourmet spirit, always on the lookout for a new gastronomic sacrament. With the magic of a meal in several acts, they even let themselves be penetrated by what is essential to gastronomy: conversation.
For while they are very "foody", with their ratings out of 100, their abundance of cooking shows and even films such as "The Menu", Burnt or The Chef, what is expressed with less verve than in France is precisely the counterpart to the material, namely the spirit of the table. As good pragmatists, the practice of pleasure as well as that of sharing are deployed with less ardor in their country.
Nevertheless, just as France must constantly put some of its artisanal passion on hold to standardize, scale and remain competitive, a growing number of Americans are making the effort in the other direction to leave the brutality of pragmatism in the checkroom, so as to devote themselves with conviction to this art which, whatever one may say, combines the best of both worlds, the toiling anglo-saxon and the pleasure seeking French.
If the art of gastronomy has its roots in certain countries, France in particular, it is destined to be shared by all, for it is above all curiosity, effort and openness that characterize the circle of gastronomy as a universal conviction. It is the reasoned and reasonable transformation of matter and spirit that unites us. Gastronomy must be accessible to all, because it could very well save us, by teaching us to discover what we call "the taste of the other ».
To conclude, after the French revolution, the early 19th century french bourgeois inherited from the aristocracy the heavy burden of democratizing good food and good manners. They did this with incredible naiveness, enthusiasm and creativity. Today, slumped on their throne, the French could lose this freshness and be sure, I know who could take up the flame.