Not long ago, it seemed as if Tex-Mex had invaded Paris in mucho grande sort of way.
Plastered all over the metro walls and on street corners, from my own snooty-pants quartier to the more popular parts of town, McDonald’s was advertising its new “P’tit Plaisir Sauce Salsa” burger.
Boy, when I saw those Doritos hanging out of that burger with sauce salsa, I just about started to cry.
Was I really here — in Paris — or was I back home, in Big D, where we routinely put triangle-shaped corn chips on our burgers to get a quick Tex-Mex fix?
Then, on the way to Parc St. Cloud to walk Rose one morning, I stopped at the Total gas station to put a couple of litres of gas in the car (which cost as much as 20 P’tit Plaisirs), and right there, next to the cheery bright yellow packages of Tuc crackers, I saw this classic cookbook on my beloved cuisine, for the insane price of just 2 euros.
Right there, in the pages of the little pocket-size book, was “Hamburgers texans,” (sic), burgers made with cumin and coriander powder, and mixed up with eggs and garlic, served, naturally, with a sesame seed bun on top of the lettuce, and with a big old gob of butter on top of the tomatoes and grilled onions.
Just like home.
If that wasn’t enough, then I saw this — “Haricots epices a la cow-boy,” (spicy beans a la cowboy), and the Mexican cantina classic, “Travers de porc au miel et a l’ail,” (pork ribs with honey and garlic).
There were recipes for hot dogs, dipped in a batter and fried (OK, not so far off); fried chicken; and shrimp with mayonnaise, too.
But its not just the low-brow, gas station and cheap burgers crowd that’s getting it all wrong. That same week, I saw a recipe in the back of Saveur magazine for a margarita, made with lemons — not limes. Um, that would be more like a tequila-spiked lemonade, right?
Is it any surprise, really, that the French think that Tex-Mex is awful?
Sadly, McDo’s got it right. Small pleasure, indeed.