lundi 25 février 2008

The Cow that Laughs Last

It's no secret that the French are thinner, on the whole, than Americans. Indeed, a number of popular books have capitalized on the idea and have promised scores of Americans that they, too, can be like the French women who don't get fat.

Although I am by no means a nutritionist or doctor (nor do I play one on this blog), I think that generally portions are smaller here. Granted, some items here do come in large portions, especially sandwiches at a boulangerie, the ubiquitous kebabs, or the pizzas at our local Italian restaurant (which, incidentally, is worthy of its very own blog post at some point later on, as a result of its colorful clientele). Most regular food that you buy at a supermarket, though, does come in smaller portions. For example, drinks come in liter bottles, rather than gallon jugs, and yogurt is sold in half-size, rather than full-size cups. And you'll be hard-pressed to find a ginormous bag of tortilla chips on the supermarket shelves.

Even some French products that are sold in the US come in different packaging. Laughing cow cheese (la vache qui rit), for example, is sold in the US in a round package with eight wedges. Here, the same round package contains twelve smaller wedges. I can just imagine the company meeting after it decided to start its international expansion:

-Marketing Dep't: "Zince vee have had difficulties breaking into the American market because our fromage is considered too stinky and mouldy, vee av deezided to market a cheese product to zee Americans."

-Naysayer: "But, we cannot sell zees petit triangles in America, it will never fit on zee wonder bread."

-Marketing Dep't: "Ah, zen, vee must increaze zee size of the wedges....ouahahah."

So, folks, you heard it on this blog first: the French are thinner because their cheese product comes in smaller portions. I wonder if I can write a book about that.

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