Monday, April 26, 2004

Vous mettez votre chocolat dans mon beurre de cacahuetes!

The undeniably Gallic epicure Clotilde@Chocolate & Zucchini writes a paean to the all-American peanut butter cup.

And in the lobby, all screaming orange and blue with our cool 3D logo up on the wall, there was a bucket-sized bowl, filled with mini peanut butter cups. I assumed these were for guests, to nibble on while they waited, but I still picked up a few, from time to time, on my way out. At the first traffic light, I would unwrap the golden foil. At the second, I would start loosening the sides of the small ribbed paper cup, but very gently, so as not to lose too much chocolate into the creases. At the third, I would free the chocolate bite from its casing. And once on highway 82, picking up speed, turning the music on louder, checking the clock to see if carpool time was over, I would gobble up my mini friend, letting it melt on my tongue, sweet milk chocolate, then soft, gooey peanut butter.
I don't think I've ever read anything so sensual written in a second language.

I once got into a heated debate with a Frenchwoman about her prejudice - for that, dear reader, is the only appropriate word - against American cuisine, which she viewed as irredeemably ersatz and artificial. I could understand how someone accustomed to French coffee - she took pride in her abstinence from Starbucks - would have trouble getting used to American coffee. (I made the mistake of calling Dunkin' Donuts the quintessentially American cup of coffee as if it were a good thing.) I could not, however, for the life of me understand her aversion to peanut butter (neither she nor a family member was allergic) which she defiantly pronounced that she would never allow her children to touch, including the natural organic kind (you know, the sort that separates because there are no emulsifiers). Even the mere act of grinding was too much processing, too much adulteration, too much Americanization for her.

Clotilde, I salute your excellent taste, your sensual prose and your openness to the best of America. For my part, I never cease to be amazed at the care that the French are capable of devoting even to the most quotidian plat du jour or that what they humbly call vin du table others would call nectar.

Chocolate & Zucchini has been linked under Esoterica & Eclectica