Gopnik, Le Fooding and Me

Gopnik, Le Fooding and Me
I’ve been meaning to write again about Le Fooding, since so many Americans find it either silly or ununderstandable. And then, of course, came Adam Gopnik’s article in the New Yorker and I realized it was time. Backstory: I’ve been a New Yorker reader since my ‘poonie days, but it took my food friend Paga to alert me that the new boy in town had a pretty good ear for Paris. During the five years Gopnik was reporting from Paris, I read every word and thought he really had it pegged, from the gymnasium to the birthing suite and from the strikes to the ambiance. It was only after he left that my disillusionment started. First I went to Balzar, the place he chronicled the near-death of, with a French pal my age who’s been going there since university days. It was pretty bad. Then I went to the place Gopnik took his 4-year-old son Luke to some Sundays for lamb—Basilic—and Colette and I really questioned his palate. But the final blow was reading somewhere that the only reason he went to Paris was to fill the Flanner slot so he could be a staff writer for the New Yorker. I fretted, I mumbled, I shouted at God—you let him occupy the job I coveted? How could you have? He didn’t even want it and I did! But he’s gone on and writes fancy stuff now about art and such and my head quieted down. Then came his article on Le Fooding. He wrote it as if he’d never lived in Paris. Gopnik was some sort of journalistic parachutiste explaining Urdu rituals to the stuffed twits at the Royal Society of Natural History. To be fair, though, he got it pretty right, except….. Except what? Well later for that. He got the philosophy behind it right, the beautiful women who run it right, Cammas’ dedication to the “other” and the origin of the word—food and feeling. What he missed was the third “f”—fun. Plus he missed the importance of the website, which food-nuts like me go to first thing every Tuesday morning for great reviews and truly different news; Gopnik acts as if the goofily-rated annual food guides and pretentious food festivals are it. Just listen to the website sound background—if you can find it—ain’t that fun? Can you imagine Le Monde or l’Express having a background tape of people clinking glasses and banging dishes and talking? Another thing Gopnik misses is Le Fooding print and performance vehicles by now are no longer revolutionary; as with all revolutions, they’ve become the established order. Its icons are now a little long in the teeth and more like aging movie stars and instead of moving down a generation, it’s stuck with last year’s model, to mix a few metaphors. Le Fooding’s Guide and Festivals may be new to Gopnik, the New Yorker and New York, but new is today. The website is today. Yogi was right. So if you want to catch the surfer’s wave before the New York Times and New Yorker, go to places like: Le P’tit Caillou2 rue Maleville in the 8th (Metro: Miromesnil)T: weekends and Monday nightsLunch formulas at 22 and 25, a la carte 41-51 €. Chez Grenouille52, rue Blanche in the 9th (Metro: Trinite)T: Saturday lunch and SundaysLunch menus at 15 and 25 and a 40 E carte but they’re cool about mix & matching ©by John Talbott 2010 If you’re coming to France (or for that matter anywhere) you can reserve your hotel here. To rent a car, Bonjour Paris recommends Auto Europe. Please post your comments or questions and let them flow. Register HERE to do so if you need a Bonjour Paris user name and password.

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