France is a state of mind as much as it is a country.
Consider the French view of subtle humor. Prior to the French Revolution in 1789, all that was laughable was described by such precise words as esprit (wit), farce (prank) and bouffonnerie (drollery).
Indeed, it wasn’t until 1932 that L'Académie Française, that august institution directed by the forty members, known as immortels (immortals) who stand guard over the purity of the French language, even gave their official approval to the use of the noun humour within the French language.
But if some things seem to move slowly in the French culture, the result is often a great style that endures (there might be a lesson there). One example of the understated humor (dare we use the word here?) of the French that so delights the rest of us is the newly released Veuve Clicquot sardine can themed packaging.
Mon Dieu!!!Sardine can packaging for the elegant Veuve Clicquot Champagne ?!? Yes, and here is where the depth and character of French humor appears.
For you see, before the Widow (Veuve is French for Widow) Clicquot became the Veuve/Widow Clicquot, her maiden name was Barbe Nicole Ponsardin.
Her family had long laughed at their last name which contained the words for bridge (pon) and sardine (sardin). The family’s coat-of-arms even included a sardine leaping over a bridge! Now that’s French humor.
And when all the facts are told, it was the Veuve Clicquot herself who largely made champagne the legendary drink of celebration. And now finally she is receiving the fame she deserves – but with that touch of subtle French style that makes us all wish we were somehow a little more French: a zip top sardine-can containing one of the world’s great champagne: Viva Veuve Clicquot!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2012