We write a lot about UNESCO World Heritage sites here at Gadling, so I was amused to find out that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is attempting to get French food on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Basically Sarkozy wants to preserve the traditions of French cuisine; in his opinion the UN should protect the right way to prepare classic regional French dishes like foie gras, tarte aux pommes and soufflé.
“We have the best gastronomy in the world — at least from our point of view. We want it to be recognized among world heritage,” Sarkozy said at last month’s Salon de l’Agriculture — the same place that he flipped out and swore at someone.
Sarkozy’s proposal to include la cuisine française as part of UNESCO’s World Heritage list is in response to a two year movement by French chefs who fear that traditional French cuisine is being threatened by the global food industry. I don’t think anyone would dare argue that French cuisine isn’t an integral part of the country’s culture, but France isn’t alone. What about Indian curry, Spanish paella and or German bratwurst? Why should France be the only one to deserve culinary protection?
Not all Frenchies agree with their president however. A food critic at Le Figaro said if French cuisine were to be listed, “opening the door of a restaurant, making a soufflé rise, shelling an oyster, will become part of cultural activity like going to sleep at the opera, yawning at the theater or slumping over James Joyce’s Ulysses.” Interesting.