A typical Frenchman thinks the world is made up of the French — and those less fortunate.
Indeed it is impossible to think of food without putting France into a separate, exalted place. Listen to a group of French carpenters or plumbers sharing lunch on the job, a meal made up of bread, cheese, perhaps a little sausage, and a measure of wine. Eavesdrop on a group of housewives waiting their turn in the butcher’s shop, or three or four businessmen assembled in a fine restaurant. They will be sharing memories of their Breton grandmother’s matelote of eel with wine, cream, eggs, and shallots, even prunes. “Did you ever eat a matelot with prunes?” one will ask, and another will launch into a tale of cassoulet from Toulouse, full of beans and sausage, duck, pork and lamb, taking six hours to cook and three more to eat. Another will recall, with his tongue passing over his lips, a certain earthenware pot that was always filled with a Burgundian beef stew — a stew perfected by time and hallowed by generations, a noble stew with lardons of salt pork, dark woodland mushrooms tiny white onions, a crust of bread to soak up the gravy, and a liter or two of wine, all served on Sundays that seemed never to end…
Advice from a Travel Writer
Food writer Sharon Hudgins says: Everyone from novice journalists to experienced cookbook authors still confronts the same set of challenges when writing about the cuisine of another country, region or ethnic group. During more than 20 years of working in this field, I’ve developed a set of guidelines for planning projects, doing background and on-site research (the really fun part — eating!) and writing accurate accounts about the foods of people living in other parts of the world.
‘One rule is fundamental: You must go to the country that you’re writing about. That might seem an obvious statement — but I’ve known cookbook authors and magazine journalists in the United States who intended to write about another country’s cuisine without ever actually traveling there themselves. They claimed they could do all the necessary research in the United States, eat at selected foreign restaurants in America, and then write authoritatively about the foods of the foreign countries they were assigned to cover — even though they’d never set foot in even one of the countries.”
To quote a sheep farmer I met in Colorado: “The way to make a small fortune is to start out with a large one.” We could say the same thing about food travel writers. It is a great job for a few and particularly the few who are able to take fabulous photographs.