Is Savoyard fondue right-wing or left-wing? – Liberation

The battle of the fridge, day 2

For a week, authors, wine merchants, restaurateurs and historians take the cabbage over the politics of dishes. Today: Savoyard fondue.

If there is one subject that divides at the table, it is politics. And the dishes themselves can be the subject of contention. Take, just in case, the beef bourguignon: for the publisher Antonin Iommi-Amunategui (Nouriturfu), there is no way to procrastinate, “It’s a decidedly right-wing dish. Everything is said, in two words: first the beef, good bidoche well in sauce, whose breeding is known to be one of the four or five main environmental plagues. Then, Burgundy, the most traditional region in the world.” But then, what would a dish on the left look like? “With sauerkraut, of course”, answers the wine merchant Mathieu Lévy (Sémélé, Paris XIe): “It’s a cheap, vitamin C-rich, easy-to-store dish that can save entire populations from winter starvation. And then, despite the variations, we can speak of a union of sauerkraut.

Because that is what is at stake in this dishonest and, therefore, fascinating debate: according to his very personal definition of the left or the right, the dishes are torn from one end of the the political spectrum. To continue the hostilities of this week between-two-turns (of the mill), let’s ask the questions that annoy. This day: is Savoyard fondue right-wing or left-wing?

Farah Keram, journalist for Arte

“Savoyard fondue is left-wing”

“Fondue has been kind of overlooked, poor thing, in these Covid years, because it epitomizes the coming together of food… and microbes. It’s an anarchist dish in more ways than one, because it transcends property boundaries. When you lose your bread, someone else takes it back. The essence of the left is felt precisely in this floating, this vagueness between what belongs to me and what belongs to you. We are together, around the same dish. It’s opulent, it’s sharing, you never do it alone… You can make a Savoyard fondue without using great Swiss cheeses at 30 euros per kilo. It is a dish that has been able to settle and settle everywhere, even in modest homes. There isn’t an exact recipe, it’s not fixed like what a dish on the right can represent. It is even a dish that breaks down geographical borders. What is French, what is Swiss in a Savoyard fondue? Impossible to decide. We are in the abolition of borders.

Watch Monday’s battle

“Another fundamental point: Savoyard fondue is intrinsically left-wing because eating it requires hard work. You have to get down to pricking the bread, stir the cheese so that it doesn’t stick. You have to roll up your sleeves to eat it because someone in the kitchen didn’t do all the work for you. Finally, there is no obsession with appearance in Savoyard fondue. The stove is in the center of the table, you pull long strings with your fork, you have some on your chin… It’s difficult to respect a very rigorous bourgeois etiquette with this dish.

“The priority of the bourgeois is education, holidays, clothes. Few people go to the markets and find out about the good bakeries in the neighborhood. Eating well is incompatible with a busy job and weekends out of town. The liberal economy leaves no time to cook. The bourgeois will set their sights on certain symbols: a nice piece of meat, a nice bottle, but nothing from the small producer, nothing from leftover cooking. Savoyard fondue can be made with leftover cheese and bread, and everyone is happy.”

Nora Bouazzouni, journalist and author of Steaksism and Faimism

“The Savoyard fondue is right-wing”

“The Savoyard fondue has another name: the bourgeois fondue. Already, that sets the framework. Then, if Savoy was on the left, it would be known. I recall that under the Fifth Republic, Haute-Savoie was the only French department to have never elected a left-wing deputy with the exception of DSK. Finally, the most important thing: it is a region where there is… Chamonix. I’m not chamoniphobic. I have a friend who comes from Chamonix. People who go skiing in Chamonix say they go skiing “in Cham” [Nora Bouazzouni le prononce avec une petite patate chaude dans la bouche, ndlr]. And who is going to ski? 7% of the French, revealed Mediapart. It is an elitist and socially differentiated activity. However, it is while skiing that we eat Savoyard fondue. A dish that we eat in Chhhhhâm.

“Skiing is the chestnut tree of all the French press, because those who work in the media come from the educated bourgeois class. Me, I’ve never skied in my life, and I’ve never eaten Savoyard fondue. Raclette is on the left, even if it takes equipment. Raclette is potatoes and cheese and there are at all prices! You put what you want in it, not just PDOs… I say that because, in the 1950s, when the concept of “regional specialties” was invented to satisfy tourism, the Savoyard fondue acquired a very local recipe: Gruyère AOP, Vacherin, Abundance AOP, Beaufort AOP or Emmental IGP. You don’t have to put them all, of course, but you need 2 or 3, and also some Savoie wine. But who can afford to melt AOP cheeses in Savoie wine? Finally, there is something in the right that fantasizes about authenticity, as if each sentence could start with “Always…”. If it’s not real AOP cheese or real Jacquère de Savoie, “It’s not real fondue”. And then, to melt all the cheeses to make a porridge, it is not very respectful of the specific identity of each of the cheeses.

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