In a cooking blog, I happened to read a reference to cooking with beer today. I had a sudden memory from the past. Here it is:
Years ago, we were planning a camping trip to Yosemite with a friend from France. This was long before the high level of communications that occur about cooking between the 2 countries now. Our friend had read that peanut butter soup was a favorite with American campers — I’ve never heard this before or since but anyway, he’d believe anything about American oddness. For him peanut butter was exotic and abominable. His face made one of those Gallic moues and he said in his deep and stereotypic accent: “Maybe it would be ok if you used beer to thin the peanut butter.”
Some time I'll have to do a more complete set of memories on our French friends, who came to Berkeley and changed their lives. It's apt: after being changed personally and politically (and maybe chemically too) by his Berkeley stay, our friend went back and had a peak experience in Paris in May, 1968, whose anniversary just was celebrated with varying memories, and which still polarizes the French a bit.
Update to this memory: Our friend was also marshmallow-phobic. On the same camping trip, our fellow Americans brought along marshmallows; when he tried a toasted marshmallow he said "it's like eating a jelly fish."
Another update about eating in France, inspired by yet another blogger: Our friend Michelle in Paris (the best cook in the world) serves radishes in a bowl with unsalted butter on the side and NO bread! With an aperitif like Kir or even whiskey, before the first course in one of her fabulous French meals.