Though I’ve been trying to ignore it, there is no question that the phenomenon is spreading. American food is hip in France. While this seems impossible to any rational being with functioning tastebuds, it is equally impossible to ignore the trend. There is a veritable engouement (which means “infatuation” but sounds as gooey as the insides of a jelly doughnut) for classic American taste treats. Believe me, no one is interested in fusion food, they want brownies, cupcakes, and bagels.
It’s been years since I saw my first brownie in a Parisian bakery. I have since learned how to pronounce it, because my first attempt was met with a blank stare. “Ah! Un brooNI! Vous voulez un brooNI!” And this was years before Carla’s entrance on the political scene. Then there was the crumbUL, which was quickly followed by muhfFIN This was all perfectly acceptable, especially because the French make brownies, crumble, and muffins so much better than we do.
But I can’t bring myself to try a baGUL. I’m sorry, but for me, any bagel that doesn’t come out of a sweaty shop with a huge, steaming bagel boiler just isn’t the real deal. I can’t imagine that those dainty rings, delicately displayed next to croissants, could ever approximate Absolute Bagels on Upper Broadway. While its entirely possible that the French bagel tastes better than an American bagel, for me, that’s beside the point. I want my bagel to be chewy and leaden, that’s part of the experience. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.