Monday smile – Bread & circuses

baguettesHello again dear readers! It’s nice to be back. I expect many of you, in Europe particularly, may be easing back into work after summer holidays.

Today I have a little ‘media circus’ for you,¹ all about the famous and delicious French bread.

About two weeks ago, the English-speaking press was flooded with articles about a “baguette crisis” (The Telegraph) – also reported as “Paris fearing the unthinkable: A baguette shortage” (Washington Post).

According to these articles, this was the result of a 1790 law² having been repealed, that had previously required bakers to notify the authorities of their holidays, in order to ensure that bread was always available. At the time of the Revolution, this was aimed at famine prevention.

However, the French press took issue with this interpretation by its “voisins britanniques“, for example Le Figaro, focusing rather on the lack of customers in August due to the traditional annual exodus from Paris, and an overall reduction in bread consumption, and stressing that bakers are responsible people that, in any case, can’t afford to lose custom.

The debate will no doubt continue!

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¹ By the way, for non-native readers, and those not familiar with Latin, here is the Oxford Dictionaries’ definition of the idiom “bread and circuses”.

² There were also other, more recent, related laws.

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