On one of the many podcasts that I listen to, The Gist, host Mike Pesca interviewed TV producer Phil Rosenthal about his new TV show “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” It’s basically a travel TV show where Phil goes around to different places and eats food there.
Rosenthal discussed what his food preferences are and made some snarky remarks about there being Starbucks in Italy and McDonald’s in Paris. He made a comment to the effect of “I don’t want to have McDonald’s in Paris.”
Hey, that’s great! Don’t eat McDonald’s in Paris. Or drink Starbucks in Italy. Or at Burger King in Spain. That’s fine. There are lots of great local places that you can try. Plenty of delicious food (and drinks!) to go around.
You know who doesn’t give a shit about whether or not you, American tourist, want McDonald’s in Paris? The 2.25 million people who live in Paris.
You know, who, it turns out might want to eat McDonald’s in Paris? That same 2.25 million people who live in Paris.
I’m not defending the exportation of American food culture, nor am I arguing in favor of McDonald’s (or other chain restaurants) over local places. But Paris and Italy aren’t just exotic locations you jet off to for your TV show or vacation. Actual people live there. And those actual people might find, and I know this is shocking, a Big Mac exotic.
If you grow up in Paris, pain au chocolat and baguettes are standard fare. It’s not a French restaurant there. It’s just a restaurant.