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French food added to UNESCO cultural heritage list

According to the Washington Post, French food has been included by UNESCO on a list of cultural heritages around the world. While there are certainly rich culinary traditions in many countries (Italy, China, Japan, Mexico, to name a few…), it is true that French gastronomy is world-renown for its gastronomy that contributes to the country’s cultural reputation around the world. But it is true that the traditional French meal is facing changes due to globalization and the work world. Your thoughts on French food?

Excerpts below from the article (click link above to read entire piece). cheers, and bon appétit.

UNESCO adds French food to cultural heritage list
Edward Cody, Washington Post Foreign Service
November 16, 2010

“…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.)…

…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.”…

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…”

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