business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This commentary is available both as text and video. They are similar but not identical. Enjoy both, or either.

Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

There was an interesting piece in the New York Times the other day by Karen Le Billion, entitled “How My Daughters Learned To Eat Like The French.” The piece was adapted from a book she has coming out, entitled “French Kids Eat Everything,” and her main premise seems to be that French kids eat everything at least in part because they are offered everything to eat. Growing up in a culture that embraces a wide range of foods, they aren’t culturally predisposed to like chicken nuggets and french fries above all else.

It was interesting reading the piece because it was just a couple of weeks ago that In was listening to NPR and heard an interview with a woman named Pamela Druckerman, who has written a book entitled “Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.” She also talked a lot about food, making the point that teaching kids to try different kinds of foods and educating their palates is seen as a central responsibility of French parents. And an early responsibility - she said that French kids eat real food a lot earlier than American kids, so they get accustomed to it earlier.

Now, I don’t want to start canonizing the French. For one thing, they smoke way too much. And, as Gene Hackman said as Popeye Doyle in French Connection II, “I’d rather be a lamp post in New York than the president of France.” (Let’s just say this this was a somewhat less sympathetic version of France than was seen last year in Midnight in Paris.)

But they do know their way around wine and food, and I’m willing to bow to their greater knowledge on these subjects.

If I could start raising my kids all over again, I think I’d try to shape their approaches to food differently. In this way, they take after my wife, who has a far more conservative palate than I do. The good news is that as my kids get older, they’ve begun to try new things and develop a taste for spice and flavor. Which makes me very happy.

It all comes down to how we think about food as a culture. And, quite frankly, the culture would be better off if more retailers in the food industry would put a greater focus on food and flavor and challenging their customers to try new things. I even think it could lead to new sales.

The bottom line would be served, and we’d be better as a culture. And everything would taste better. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

FYI...You can see all of the FaceTime videos by clicking here.

KC's View: