…and Halloween Isn’t a Pumpkin Stuffed with Smoking Wax
Orange juice sales are growing fast worldwide and especially in France where sales have practically rocketed. The French people, who used to have only the revolting habit of dunking their croissants in their hot chocolate or their Camembert toasts in their morning cup of steaming black coffee, decided, by virtue of a Pavlovian mimicry of films, to begin the sacrosanct petit-déjeuner with a nice big glass of orange juice, full of vitamins and rich in fibre.
These ungrateful people, poor partisans, who are continually deriding their colonial heritage by saddling coffee and cocoa with some incurable and devilish genetic defect, thus prefer to forget their ancestral petit-déj for a “breakfast,” appropriated from the other side of the Atlantic. Slices of fresh bread, salted butter, and homemade jam have given way to the very healthy and very nourishing flake of GM corn, candied with synthetic cocoa. Pains au chocolat and other filled croissants, the stuff of human genius, have been declared unfit for consumption and it has been decreed that we should feed ourselves like beasts of burden, with rations of ground oats and wheat, moistened with vile soya milk, because the milk of our cows, which has helped billions of youngsters grow tall and strong ever since man first stood upright is, we are told, poison fit for the gutter.
America, chomper of chewing gum and guzzler of toasted cornflakes, would insinuate its breakfast into French homes through the mesmerizing powering of TV shows
Perfidious Albion, Blameless (for once)
So, what happened? We had been fraternizing with and waging war against the perfidious English for centuries; they who always had to be different: drinking tea instead of coffee, driving on the left, measuring distances in miles, giving themselves headaches with inches, weighing things in pounds, singing “God Save The Queen,” while we were cutting the heads off our princes, waging war against the Nazis when they should have signed the armistice, offering us the hand of friendship when it would have been better to spit on it …
Well, for once in the list of all our misfortunes, perfidious Albion had nothing to do with it. It is to the other side of the Atlantic that we must look to better understand our national ruin: America, chomper of chewing gum and guzzler of toasted cornflakes, would insinuate its breakfast into French homes through the mesmerizing powering of TV shows: from Little House on the Prairie, where Laura Ingalls would swallow her porridge without so much as a grimace, to Sookie Stackhouse who tells us that pecan pie is the best pie in the world, not to mention the millions of scenes in films where every model American family drinks orange juice that comes in four-gallon containers, because the family pack, in the land of industrial overconsumption, is not a marketing luxury, but an essential element in the daily satisfaction of obesity’s needs.
A 100% Industrial Product
However, enough of this churlish digression, we are talking here about 100% pure orange juice, with no added sugar, not about nectar, a vague fruity liquid with high sugar content, and still less about orange-flavoured water. Here, we are concerned only with products bearing the label “100% pure orange juice.” In the case of the latter, yes, the oranges do come from Brazil or Spain or California: the only producer-exporters of the raw material that will be used to make the contents of the cartons and plastic bottles, as well as the real glass ones. The base is a sort of yellowish must, made of crushed oranges, complete with skin and pips. After that, at this stage of production, two products can be distinguished: a mixture that takes up a lot of room, and one that won’t when it is transported to “bottlers” the world over.
Fruit juice isn’t freeze-dried, as falsely claimed by a certain product that sold its orangey dust as though it were genuine powdered orange. No, in order for it to be reduced to a compact form, all the liquid in the orange pulp is boiled off until only a sticky, sludgy mix is left, which is more cost-effective to transport. For the most upmarket brands, the juice produced during the initial pressing will be transported as it is and can legitimately bear the supreme label: “pure fruit juice.” As for the orangey syrup mentioned above, it will be labelled: “from concentrate.” Then, forget about the vitamins contained in these two types of products; they won’t last more than a couple of days in storage. So, they have to be put back in. Sometimes, the flavour has to be tweaked … attempts will be made to perfect it using chemical artifice. After that, only artistic genius is left to consider in this juicy processed food alchemy: packaging – coming up with the label design, creating the shape of the bottle – the container is appareled with all the goodness, even if the content is closer to gnat’s pee than a repackaged natural product. And then … no added sugar (or sugars, as there are many types) does not mean that it does not contain any sugar. Oranges are among the fruits with the highest sugar content in their natural state. A glass of a “normal” fizzy drink and a glass of squeezed orange juice contain the same amount of sugar. People can do as they please, drink what they like, of course, but it would be foolhardy to think that an obese person’s diet would be better if he or she drank a glass of 100% orange juice with no added sugar, rather than a fizzy drink.
People Used to Know How to Live: Halloween is not Carnival
There was some virtue in a coffee early in the morning; the beans had to be ground, which exercised the forearm, and then it could be drunk as the individual pleased, adding sugar or not, occasionally mixing in some real cow’s milk. To say that eating bacon and eggs with half a litre of orange juice is better than a cup of coffee with bread smeared with butter and jam is, even if not a lack of taste, a serious error of judgement. What does Halloween have to do with it? Well, you see … I haven’t seen the land of my ancestors for a very long time and it has come to my ears that Halloween is now being celebrated there as though it were Carnival and children are knocking on doors begging for sweets … proof that the English are not to blame here: in the United Kingdom, they eat pumpkin with orange marmalade. Let’s add that Johnny Hallyday never wanted to be like either the Beatles or the Stones and he had Hendrix as his opening act, when the genius of the electric guitar was still under the management of Chas Chandler, former bassist of the Animals and pure product of English Rock.
One day, it will have to be admitted that inside every Frenchman is an American waiting to get out, who is so lacking in self-awareness that were he asked to choose between the Star Spangled Banner and the European flag, he’d choose the one fluttering in Normandy and strap it to his NATO combat fatigues before setting Strasbourg alight and blowing Brussels to pieces.