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CultureJean-Pierre Coffe

If you looked up the word connoisseur in a French dictionary, there would be a photo of Jean-Pierre Coffe. Coffe, on his weekly FranceInter radio show, Ca se bouffe pas, ├ža se mange !, regularly talks about the intricacies of French food, how it should be prepared, eaten and selected. One thing I have learned form listening to Coffe is that the French really take what they eat very seriously.

Past shows have included such topics as: how to make a salad, which included how to select the ingredients and buy them; chicken, what breeds to use and what other foods to eat them with, and barbeques, which ones to use, how to start the fire and what foods barbeque best.

Coffe is not just a radio host; he has also written a number of books, following on the theme of his show. I have not read any of his books; English editions are out-of-print, but from what I have heard, he has a developed an approach to food and life.

Some shows can become heated as Coffe sometimes brings small producers and lager ones together. During one show on ice cream, two small producers got into an argument with a representative of a large ice cream manufacturer. The dispute was over whether the large manufacturer really was able to use quality ingredients or not in his large batches of ice cream and still be able to charge a low price.

The one recurring theme of Coffe's show is the appreciation he demonstrates to the artisans of French cuisine, framers, bakers, chefs and so on. I think he does this because these people are the real stars of French culture, and they are under appreciated in the France of today, a France that is increasingly eating more fast-food and spending less and less time around the table eating. ie not eating traditional French meals at a traditional French pace.

Coffe is a burly tall man, a little overweight (Can you blame him?); his voice is high-pitched, yet very masculine, and he was the wonderful French habit of articulating his words to make a point. If you very get the chance and your French is good enough, tune in to FranceInter on Saturdays at noon; you will not be disappointed.

Jean-Pierre Coffe's web site

Books by Jean-Pierre Coffe - In French only.

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