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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Midnight in Lyon..

It's been one year and a half that I've lived in Lyon, and I realized recently that I've never discovered or lived in Lyon alone!

Bri is in Paris starting his new job and apartment hunting, I'm stuck in Lyon for my Master's program until the beginning of February... and so yesterday I decided to go and venture around my city.

I'd never been to the Musée Gadagne since I moved to Lyon, but I mean a free entrance to a museum for a Lyon Gastronomie display?  I couldn't resist.  I packed a compote and a bottle of water, my journal and my walking boots; off I was on my very own to a Lyonnais museum!

Les Toques Blanches de Lyon (in my garden!)

It was lovely to walk through the city at my own pace, in silence, listening to the people around me.  It was in the actual exhibit that I was enamoured, posters of food, photos of the famous Cuisiniers and Cuisinières, I looked at every single detailed menu, watched every black and white video.  The exhibit is not that impressive, in regards to actual 'gastronomy', but there were a few things I picked up on and tucked away in my journal:

When visiting the musée Gadagne, I can almost imagine myself with the famous Gourmands of Lyon.  A sort of "Midnight in Lyon", instead of the 'high time' with artists and painters in Paris, it is a Golden Age of eating and gourmandises.  Lyon was for foodies what Paris was for artists... while artists and writers were indulging in social abnormalities, the foodies were just doing what they do best... eating!
Even though Julia Child mentions that Paris was an amazing culinary hot-spot, even the great Curnosky wrote, Lyon est la capitale mondiale de gastronomie.  Can't argue with the Prince of Gourmand!

La Mère Brazier
I was amazed at the culinary freedom of the 1920's and 1930's and longed to jetset back in time to sit at a table with Mère Brazier, Mère Fillioux and Curnosky...

What's more incredible is the feminism so prevalent in this era- why do I say this?  Because women truly were the creators of the Lyon Gastronomy!  I stared at the photos, imagining the times... there was respect to these women because they could cook.  These women, the lost generation of the culinary world in Lyon were the epitomy of feminism.  Enormous amounts of respect were doted upon their culinary confections, and they remain important and engrained in Lyon history!

So potentially in France... if you can cook you can earn respect?

But what is up with this whole Lyon cuisine?  What was amazing was the distinctive contrast between the Bourgeois dishes (Brasserie Georges, etc) and the typical Bouchon (la Mère Jean) also known as La Cuisine Guignolesque which was for the hard workers.  One of the videos in the museum shows a report wandering around and asking locals:

Reporter:  Pensez-vous d'être un gourmand?
Man 1: Tout à fait que oui, nous sommes des plus grandes gourmands ici à Lyon... on adore les choses bonnes à manger, les cochonnailles, la viande... du vin.. du fromage...
Report: (Same question)
Older Woman: Mais oui!  Je suis une gourmande.. j'adore à manger!
I am not a personal fan of Bocuse... who has taken the idea of being a Foodie and capitalised it until it's just a bunch of carbon-copy restaurants with little or no creativity.  I love the simple, local, bouchons... with a pot du vins and a tender quenelle.

Les Toques Blanches.. les mères de Lyon.. Oh la la!

This move is going to be tough.



  1. What's a campote?

  2. speaking of food, when you get to Paris, l'as du fallafel, 34 rue des rosiers in the marais. Trust me!

    PS-great blog


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