Friday, February 6, 2009

Outrage at Le Pain Quotidien

I used to be a fan of Le Pain Quotidien, the international Belgian bakery/restaurant. I know it's both a chain and a yuppy mecca, but it's also delicious and the bread is good (pas mal in Parisian terms).  

But I am a fan no longer. Pain Quotidien: You F'd up. 

I was there with a friend last week, feeling very happy and slightly Euro as we chatted in the little garden of the branch on Lexington and 65th. The stoned waitress creeped me out a little bit--she brought us 2.5 glasses of water--but all was well, until...

Horror of horrors. I looked at the menu only to find that they listed the CALORIES next to every item. NOT OK. That is a decidedly un-French, un-Belgian, unaccetpable thing to do. Way to take ALL the pleasure out of eating. This is the antithesis of what "daily bread" is all about. 

I understand why disgusting and sneaky calorie-cramming chains (McDonald's, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts) are obligated to do this kind of thing. But Pain Quotidien? Pourquoi?!?!?!

So I protested loudly. I enjoy protesting loudly in the U.S. because it feels really good after expending all my energy trying to stay quiet while I'm abroad. A sampling of this week's proclamations:

--I DON'T WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY CALORIES ARE IN THIS! WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS TO ME?!!??!
--BOSTON IS THE STUPIDEST CITY EVER! IT'S UNLIVABLE!
--THE STATE OF AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE IS DESPICABLE! THIS COUNTRY IS DOOMED! 

But back to my point. America has an eating problem. Just eat, people. Don't eat too much. Don't eat things that contain crazy chemical ingredients you can't pronounce. Don't eat too many times per day. Everyone, CALM DOWN! 

And please do NOT tell me how many calories I am about to consume unless you want a diatribe on the virtues of French food culture. 

There, I feel a little better. I wonder what my friends are eating in Paris... 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tory,

sure it sucks to have a bad concient about what you eat.....but it's the law for "chain" restaurants to post calories. More important for my wife and me is that's lot of the offering is organic.....that's what counts for us!

Carrie said...

J'aime la folie

--Annie's Sister

Anonymous said...

I was searching for the restaurant and was very inrigued by your post about this restaurant you once seemed to love so much....

Pain Quotidien "F'ed" up by listing calories next to menu items??? They have 140 - 150 locations and are in 15 (or so??) countries worldwide. The company is run like nothing I have ever seen; as far as efficiency, profitability, stability, flourishing.....not to mention how much stress the put on maintaining the best possible quality of life for each and every employee. The decision to put calorie counts on menu items was not a corporate/inside decision. It came from thousands, if not millions of customer suggestions.

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