Americans on Food:The overwhelming majority of responses I received spoke not of the pleasure of the palate, but rather of the function of food. “Good nutrition that they can fill up with quickly.” “Bacon cheeseburgers for lunch every day—and I actually had more energy.” “There’s no point in eating if the food doesn’t keep you healthy.” “I really only do it to keep going.” For every gourmet who spoke about taste, texture, and savouring a meal, there were two dozen people who talked about filling up and eating as a necessity instead of a pleasure. The message that came through loudly from these stories was that the body is a a machine and the job of food is to keep the machine running.The American Culture Code for food is FUEL.
French on Food:In many other cultures, food isn’t a tool, but rather a means of experiencing refinement. In France, the purpose of food is pleasure, and even a home-cooked meal is something diners saver for a long period. In French restaurants, the meal is symphonic in its artistry, with many “performers”—the chef, the waiter, the sommelier, and the maître d’—working synchronously. In fact, the French use the word chef for both a fine cook and the conductor of an orchestra.
French/American on Alcohol:How and when one imprints an archetype affects the power and meaning of that archetype. The timing of the imprint of alcohol in our culture and the French culture offers an intriguing way to see this in action.The French, while they don’t allow their children to drink in quantity, will expose them to alcohol (specifically, wine) at a very early age, allowing them to take a sip or perhaps to dip a cookie in a glass of champagne. They teach their children that wine enhances food and that older, lower-alcohol wines are best because the alcohol inhibits the flavour of the wine.Americans, with their strong history of temperance (this is one of the few Western cultures ever to make the consumption of alcohol illegal for all of its citizens), generally keep their children completely away from alcohol until they are well into their teens. Americans teach their children that alcohol is an intoxicant that can lead to irresponsible behaviour.Forbidden to drink alcohol as children, and learning little about it other than it is “bad” for you, American s end up imprinting alcohol at a rebellious age. When they gain access to alcohol (usually underage, which enhances the sense that they are doing something taboo), they know nothing of its pleasures, subtleties, or role as an enhancer of food, but they api key discover its intoxicating qualities. Taste is unimportant. What matters is this substance can do a job for you: it can get you drunk. As a bonus, your parents don’t want you to do it, so you can rebel and get wasted at the same time.The American Culture Code for alcohol is GUN.