Am setting off to track the ingredients of food items made in cities around the world. The purpose is to better understand how cities are fed, mapping out the movements of ingredients from the origin of raw materials to the plate of the consumer. So, starting in Paris, with a simple ham and cheese baguette.
Slept all the way through the 10+hour flight to Munich and then on to Paris, arriving during a one-day taxi strike on a rainy day. Am staying in a small hotel, Hotel Verneuil, located on a quiet street on the Left Bank St. Germain des Pré district. After a quick shower, a strong espresso from the cozy, wood-paneled lobby, I headed off to meet Lauren Shields, my researcher who has been soldiering on through her list of contacts to set up appointments for me during my visit.
Lauren is an American, born in Montana, studying international food policy at a French university. She graduated a few weeks ago and is now on the hunt for a job somewhere in the European food policy universe. She met me for tea at the Comptoir des Pères, where we talked about our plans for the next few days as I sipped a tisane and she a “noisette,” an espresso with a small pitcher of hot milk on the side. We talked for two hours, and developed a list of ideas, places to visit, and some questions. Such as, “Why don’t Parisians talk about locally food? Perhaps it’s because they think of all of France as their backyard, and thus all food produced in France as local.