Chirac moves to the diplomatic gutter


The French supreme leader is reduced to joking about the quality of British cuisine, in the run—up to the G8 meeting in Scotland, with overtones of competition for hosting the 2012 Olympics. The BBC reports:

French President Jacques Chirac is reported to have cracked jokes about British food at a meeting with the German and Russian leaders.

French newspaper Liberation says Gerhard Schroeder and Vladimir Putin laughed and joined in the banter.

"One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad," it quotes Mr Chirac as saying, within earshot of reporters.

I will stipulate that traditional British food is pretty awful, with certain exceptions, such as smoked salmon and the hunt breakfast. Traditional French food was much better. But in my lifetime, the vectors are rapidly converging, with the British, fortified by immigration from the Indian Subcontinent and continental Europe, eating far better than before. Meanwhile, French baguettes are baked from frozen dough, processed food is getting blander, and reasonably—priced French wine of quality is not so easy to find, buried in a sea of plonk. In my humble opinion, the Italians eat a lot better than the French, not to mention the Japanese, Chinese, Thais, and many others.

Tony Blair is far too classy ever to respond in kind, with a remark about bodily odors or hairy armpits. Let Chirac occupy the displomatic gutter in isolation.

Hat tip: Joseph Crowley

Thomas Lifson   7 4 05

Update: The Telegraph has responded appropritely.

The sooner that France's farmers catch on to the efficient methods of food production discovered in Britain more than 300 years ago, the sooner the curtain can come down on the corrupt farce of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Apparently, Mr Chirac doesn't enjoy British cooking, either. He is said to have sneered to his fellow Eurocrats: "One cannot trust people who have such bad cuisine." In particular, Lib ation reports that he has complained about being expected by Lord Robertson, the British former general secretary of Nato, to eat an unspecified "Scottish delicacy" (we guess he meant haggis, which has always been wasted on unsophisticated palates).

Again, Mr Chirac is lagging far behind the times. Even the most chauvinistic French chefs now acknowledge that London overtook Paris long ago as the culinary capital of Europe. We understand Mr Chirac's bad temper.

After all, he has just been kicked in the teeth by his own people's resounding Non to his dreams of a European superstate. But this is no way to conduct high politics. How would Mr Chirac feel if others descended to his level of argument, and called him a snob and a has—been, who pongs of garlic?