French Food for the Masses

For the better part of the twentieth century, French food was synonymous with high-class cuisine. Most of the fanciest restaurants were French, and going anywhere with “Chez” or “Maison” in the title conjured up images of white tablecloths, crisp linens, and waitstaff that wouldn’t look out of place at a black tie wedding. If you were going to impress someone by cooking an elaborate meal, there was a good chance there would be some French cuisine going down in your kitchen. “French” was synonymous with class, upper crust, and the living the good life.

Take this 1962 ad for Sealtest Ice Cream for example. Boasting the French style, the copy is full of lofty adjectives: prestige, superb, choice, rich, and elegant. “Vive la difference!’ Don’t just taste the difference, live the difference.

Sealtest French Ice Cream, 1962

Then in the early sixties along came Julia Child, making this revered cuisine more accessible to everyone with Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961, shortly followed by her PBS show The French Chef.

 

And then, along came André, really making French cuisine available to EVERYONE.

Chef Andre Chocolate Souffle Mix Ad, Life Magazine 1962

Chef Andre Vanilla Souffle Mix Ad, Life Magazine, 1962

It’s Bastille Day, so bust out your franglais and whip up something deliciously French. Whether you’re channeling Julia Child or Chef André, any holiday that provides an excuse for food is bound to be a good one. If you find some Chef André souffle mixes lurking around, let me know how they turn out!

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