links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

On helping the G20, that he just took over this week, in the difficult effort to move away from the Breton Woods agreement that replaced hard gold with soft green-back dollars, to a new form of global stable monetary structure, he could get the Nobel Prize from the Scandinavians, or a total failure grade from his political opponent – the Socialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is a respected economist with years of experience at the IMF – and schooled in global credentials well above the President.

But that is not all – some say that looking at China and the US battle it out on currencies, these are the elephants – France is only a mouse even next to its EU neighbor – Germany.

On the Brazil outreach, a clear reaction to President Obama’s hopelessĀ  promise to fight for the Indians, this while President Nixon made his promise to the Japanese 40 years ago, and President Clinton to the Germans some twenty years ago – that is so much hot air. Will France make place for the much stronger German Economy to sit at the UN Veto table? Japan and Germany contend seniority in these games.

So, this brings us to UNESCO – a UN hostage held in Paris. Sarkozy suggested the luncheon heritage and UNESCO complied. Why? What is there extraordinary in a picnic? Many cultures have this. Why did he not ask for the honor to be given to Cogniac, Champagne, or Brie – to that even I could have subscribed, even though I clearly think now that the Wiener Schnitzel is more of a trademark. Could Austria corner UNIDO or the IAEA and declare the Schnitzel to UN fame – a Schnitzel in every pan – please?

Does the President think the picnic is more of a mass-winner then theĀ  aspects of French manufactured culinary goods?

———

UNESCO adds French food to cultural heritage list.

SLIDESHOW
An elderly couple having lunch by the road waves as the pack rides by during the 9th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Pontarlier and Aix-les-Bains, eastern France. UNESCO has included "the gastronomic meal of the French" on it's list celebrating the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
An elderly couple having lunch by the road waves as the pack rides by during the 9th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Pontarlier and Aix-les-Bains, eastern France. UNESCO has included “the gastronomic meal of the French” on it’s list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”. (Laurent Rebours – AP)
People from Ashbourne village in Derbyshire play their traditional Shrovetide football match. Dating from the 17th Century, the aim is for the Up'ards and Down'ards teams to score goals by tapping the ball on circular stone mounds on the banks of the River Henmore. UNESCO has included Shrovetide traditions on it's list celebrating the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
People from Ashbourne village in Derbyshire play their traditional Shrovetide football match. Dating from the 17th Century, the aim is for the Up’ards and Down’ards teams to score goals by tapping the ball on circular stone mounds on the banks of the River Henmore. UNESCO has included Shrovetide traditions on it’s list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”. (Ian Hodgson – Reuters)
A Colombian Wayuu Indians fill wheelbarrows with salt in Manaure, in the northern Colombian province of Guajira. Since before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, Wayuu Indians have harvested salt in the wind-swept region of Guajira. UNESCO has included Wayuu way of life on it's list celebrating the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
A Colombian Wayuu Indians fill wheelbarrows with salt in Manaure, in the northern Colombian province of Guajira. Since before the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, Wayuu Indians have harvested salt in the wind-swept region of Guajira. UNESCO has included Wayuu way of life on it’s list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”. (Jose Miguel Gomez – Reuters)
A patient lies on a bed as he undergoes acupuncture treatment at Beijing's Capital Medical University Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. UNESCO has included acupuncture and moxibustion on it's list celebrating the world's "intangible cultural heritage".
A patient lies on a bed as he undergoes acupuncture treatment at Beijing’s Capital Medical University Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. UNESCO has included acupuncture and moxibustion on it’s list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage”. (David Gray – Reuters)

Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 8:45 PM

Among humanity’s most cherished cultural treasures, the United Nations declared Tuesday, are Peking opera, Spanish flamenco dancing – and lunch in France.

The decision by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to include French food among new additions to a list celebrating the world’s “intangible cultural heritage” came as no surprise in Paris. For centuries, people here have been convinced that nothing is so fine, so culturally satisfying, so spiritually uplifting as sitting down for a good French meal with friends and family. (Or maybe a lover, but that is another heritage.)

President Nicolas Sarkozy summed up the views of most of his compatriots when he blurted out at an agricultural fair two years ago that French cuisine is the best in the world and should be put on the UNESCO list. Although he quickly added, “at least, in our view,” his culinary chauvinism inspired tut-tuts from gourmets in Italy, Spain and many other places where people think they eat pretty well.

UNESCO honored traditional Mexican cuisine as well, although that fact tended to be lost in the din of self-congratulation in France over the world body’s acknowledgment of the country’s flair for orchestrating the perfect cascade of mealtime pleasures: from aperitif to appetizer, on to the main course, salad, cheese, dessert and perhaps fruit, with the appropriate wine bringing out the best in each dish.

It was that ageless choreography – epitomized by Sunday lunch at Grandma’s rather than three-star preciosity – that UNESCO singled out as worth preserving for the good of the human race.

“The meal is a profound part of French people’s identity,” said Jean-Robert Pitte, the president of the University of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), who led the effort to win UNESCO’s blessing and explained the reasoning online. “This exists in a lot of other countries. But we have a certain form of gastronomy, with the marriage of food and wine, the succession of dishes, the way of setting the table, of talking about it, that are specifically French.”

A 24-member UNESCO committee, meeting in Nairobi this month to weigh 47 nominations from 29 countries, agreed, honoring gastronomy for the first time. It added the French meal because, a citation said, it is “a customary social practice designed to celebrate the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups.”

France’s ambassador to UNESCO, Catherine Colonna, expressed delight at the decision, saying in a statement that it “contributes to cultural diversity.”

In fact, the traditional French meal has been meeting with growing indifference on its home ground as the demands of a modern economy encourage quick, alcohol-free lunches, particularly among the young. Sandwich consumption is rising by 10 percent a year, and experts estimate that only half of France’s 64 million people still sit down to eat regular family meals of the kind honored by UNESCO.

Nevertheless, a multicourse lunch with wine at an expense-account restaurant remains the most popular way to celebrate a contract, seal a friendship or pass along a tip. Lunch at Grandma’s is still imperative for many families, particularly in the provinces. Television programs devoted to cooking and dinner parties have also proliferated in recent years, generating a mini-renaissance of home cooking.

“This means that people are rediscovering that in cooking, there is conviviality, competition, health, roots, a discovery of the world,” said Jean-Louis Missika, an aide to Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper. “And we see in these programs that setting a beautiful table is not at all fuddy-duddy.”

In many ways, the drive to get French-style meals on the UNESCO list arose from a desire to preserve the tradition of home-style gastronomy despite the onslaught of pressures against it. Francis Chevrier of the European Institute of Food History and Cultures in Tours, who participated in the campaign, expressed hope it would inspire the French to make sure their heritage is passed along to future generations. Although the emphasis was on family tradition, several big-name chefs also supported the cause, including Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon.

The cultural heritage list, which was started in 2003 as a parallel to the UNESCO monuments list begun in 1972, had designated 178 customs before the current round, most of them folk traditions such as dances or ceremonies.

According to the regulations, UNESCO’s designation implies an international obligation to preserve the honored tradition. French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand and Agriculture Minister Bruno Lemaire pledged to help French gastronomy survive and noted that school programs are handing down techniques.

One of France’s most famous zealots of culinary tradition, the European Parliament member and food purist Jose Bove, was cited Tuesday for his own kind of preservation. Bove, who won fame a decade ago for trashing a McDonald’s in the name of good eating, was sentenced to 120 days in jail and fined $68 for tearing up a field of genetically modified corn.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article

###