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France to end microwave truth behind its cuisine

Boeuf bourgignon, veal blanquette, duck a l’orange and gratin dauphinois — all mainstays of French cuisine, and a familiar sight on menus across the country.

world Updated: Oct 12, 2011 23:41 IST
Reuters
Reuters
Hindustan Times

Boeuf bourgignon, veal blanquette, duck a l’orange and gratin dauphinois — all mainstays of French cuisine, and a familiar sight on menus across the country.

Except these dishes aren’t on offer in a quaint eatery with flavours that vary according to the chef’s mood — rather they’ve been mass produced, vacuum-sealed in congealed 2-kg packs and sold wholesale to restaurants from an icy warehouse, with microwave re-heating instructions stuck on the side.

This is one of France’s darker culinary secrets — that in a country that revels in its gastronomic reputation, anyone, in theory, could open a “traditional” restaurant with little more than a microwave and a grill.

France President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative government has taken the matter in hand.

The lower house National Assembly approved a new law this week that will oblige eateries to indicate whether or not their food is freshly cooked or ready-made.

"(Restaurants) are the only place where you really don’t know what you’re eating," said deputy Fernand Sire of the ruling UMP party, the man behind the original proposal for the law.

First Published: Oct 12, 2011 23:39 IST