French Frozen Food and Le Morte d' Blogeur

Good mornin' y'all. It be a lovely sunrise on the back porch today.  Wish I could pour ya' a cup o' mah cawfee.  

Readin' the paper this mornin' brought me to an odd realization:  Frozen food in French bistros is another symptom of what it is that ails our bloggerverse.

Aunty onc't knowed an editor wif' a sadistic humor.  He luved to assign snide topics such as, "Chinks in Chinese Porcelain Industry."  

One of his favorite games wuz to saddle some poor wanna-be-writer wif' two weird subjects an' tell 'em to connect the dots a'tween 'em in one 500 word article.  Jes' think of "Chopped" fer journalists: Open yore baskets an make an entree from Twizzlers, ostrich loin, Casaba Melon an' cumin.  In 30 minutes.

Hence scribblers yanked theirselves bald tryin' to find a single dot to lead a piece that combined "Red Tide Ravages Cape Cod"  wif'
"Human Trafficking Swells in Romania." *  (Try this exercise yoreself if youse already stumped on today's Sudoku.


Mercy, Aunty do run on....seems I had a thread...oh yes, I wanna suggest that an article in today's WSJ  about French Frozen Foods points to the trouble we's all noted about the decline of bloggerville.  See? Reckon how I'se gonna connect them dots??  Frozen French vittles an' flatlined blogger-world?

France, as y'all might all know, is staggerin' under the weight of its socialistic policies.  This reality done trickled up all the way to--gasp!-- Haute Cuisine .  Uh-huh, the snooty chef de jour admits that le bottom line is the death of fresh ingredients. Fresh food is costly, mai oui, but it is the labor paid to the sous chef an' the potscubber that done dealt the coup de grace to homemade Foie Gras. The scullery maid of 1995 earned 12, 610 euros, while her daughter earns 25,153 euros  (plus paid vacations an' full medical care, plus pension) 18 years later.  

How to pay for this increase in labor? The meat of the matter is that the pricey boeuf bourguinon on yore bistro plate came out of the microwave.  Gasp! GASP!!  

Weep on dear diner, I ain't through yet. The unions insist that scullery work "is not an easy job" ** an' Monsieur  le Gourmand must pay more for the privilege to dine in French brasseries. Natcherly the poor restauranteur gits the picture-- Monsieur is also pinched by the same social policies.  He ain't gonna tuck in his napkin down at the corner cafe when the price the plat du jour is too punishing. (Madame, after all, looks fetching in her apron at home.)  Forsooth. 

To shave 10% from his costs, so that there can even be a bottom line for the chef an' his own family, the beleaguered chef turns to frozen foods.  Frozen French cuisine delivered by Nestle Foods.  Industrial foods delivered to the back door eliminate a chunk of the kitchen help.   The tradeoff is that commercialized food is the new standard.  Something precious is forfeited. If the delight and savor of French cuisine --and a huge slice of French identity an' culture--must be sacrificed fer the bottom line, well, we's all doin' the best we can to scape by. 
An' thas' mah connection fer the blogger blahs.  Folks is scraping by, ain't they? I'se said a'fore that early bloggers had such fun!   That was the days a'fore blogs were colonized by every bidness known to man. (not to mention the spam-scamers) Now? Every magazine, every product, every service, every starlet, car-wash, an' bike shop  blogs fer bucks or self promotion. 

That turns visitors to blogs into customers, not visitors.  Blogs I used to read is now nuthin' but outright promotion of products or services, no matter how charmingly presented.   There is the sense of being manipulated, guided, maneuvered toward the purchase of goods for which the blogger is paid a percentage.    

An' like frozen industrialized "French" food on the plat du jour, it doan taste the same. Something important has been sacrificed.  Now, it ain't about the food the local farmer grew an' the chef sought for his signature dishes, then prepared with that special regional flair....but note that it is still presented as "special" or "French" or "regional" wink, wink.  This French freeze thang is turnin' a whole segment of the culture into one big pretense.  

Thas' much of the sadness I'se had lately over bloggerville. Somethin' is bein' lost. " Blog" is a contraction of  "Weblog":

"A weblog may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone."

  In the beginning folks tumbled through the blog portal, found  each other, an' an distinct community grew up-- not often homogenous, but a motley mix of folks an' their own peculiarities that lent great charm to the whole enterprise.  That were the fun of it, the discovery of it.  Ya' jes din't know what might show up.

I wish I had a nickel fer each time somebody said, "I ain't got time to blog no more unless I do it to promote my livlihood."

Aunty ain't got nuthin' against using the web fer makin' a few sous. I does it mahselfBut cain't we do that separately? Reckon what I'se meanin',  is to wail an' moan over the loss of that special animal that is a real ( un commercial) blog.  Now, it's all frozen fare.  Thar' oughta be room in folks' life fer the non-commercial relationship. 

Mebbe thas' the question fer us all--whar' does ya' have yore special relationships? The ones that ain't about makin' a dollar off somebody or them makin' it offa yore pocket?   

* * *      * * *        * * * 

I does agree that Face Book is part of the ailing bloggerverse. Also in today's WSJ thar's a op-ed by Meghan Kelly, "Aristotle Wouldn't Friend You on Facebook".  Aristotle warned of "friendships of utility..for the commercially minded." And since FB is public (even when it is "private") everyone manages the FB relationships just so...it is after all a tool for self-promotion.   No honest exchange of "friendship" is likely.  Ms/ Kelly is departing FB after 9 years.

****       ****       ****

An' I does agree that   --as some of y'all (Chick 9) done said--that the scourge of political correctness is another dagger in the heart bloggerville.  Fer the record, I much prefer an honest disagreement wif' well intended folks than fake "can't we all jes' get along"  sentiment that reduces every post or comment to a Facebook like button--which lands us squarely back into Frozen Food territory.

Anyhoo....thanks fer stoppin' by.  

this story passed the editor's scrutiny

 "Unpredictable Ebb and Flow of Money Befuddles Economists" 

 City fathers bemoan the blood tide besmirching the shores of pristine Cape CodSummer revenue is the lifeline for many property owners who rent to well heeled sun seekers May through September. This year the swank island's fortune is jeopardized by an algae whose domino effect has tipped over the local economy. Abandoned ice cream kiosks, falling property values, boarded up restaurants and sagging bicycle sales were not part of the island's financial projections. "Despite our meticulous planning, Cape Cod may suffer a severe revenue reversal," said  Nantucket City Commissioner,  Chatsworth Bennington IV. Bennington's own beachside dunes are fouled by the crimson rags of dinoflagellate Gonyaulax.  The Nauset Marsh estuary and other popular shell fishing locations are shut down due to the toxic tide.

Economists warn that the ebb and flow of money is not an exact science. "Technical models and sophisticated software can only give a community a projection, not a reality," cautioned Cornell economist, Cash Wealthrow. "Cape Cod based their budget on a responsible model, but nothing is certain, boom or bust.  An example we used in class this week was the surging economy of  Romanian border towns where human trafficking is a significant source of income." 

Wealthrow outlined the unexpected change in fortune for the former Soviet Bloc nation. "The situation is morally abominable, we agree.  It will be very difficult to stop, however,  because a poor nation has discovered a river of money. We examined the data of David Batstone of the University of San Fransisco and a non-profit, Scarlet Cord. Romanian coffers are swelling with blood money: Consider the widening wealth from bribes paid to the border authorities and local police, the hundreds of charities that have arrived with funds to combat the scourge with victims hospices, orphanages and health clinics.  Then factor in WHO and other UN personnel who set up their high paid research teams which patronized shops and bars. Don't overlook cheap slave labor of discarded prostitutes and diseased children that increased agricultural and manufacturing profits, and so on. Now, I asked the students, what economist working in Romania after the fall of the Berlin Wall would have predicted a Romanian boom based on this model?  There you have it. Economies are fluid, never static.  You can plan, but, plan to be surprised."

** On the "not an easy job"  whine  of the French unions, Uncle remarked how his own Daddy, needin' to pay his collich tuition, used to camp out on at the inlet in a tent fer days at a time gigging flounder to sell to the local seafood joints.  He lived on canned sardines an' crackers, thar' warn't no SPF 50 in them days, an the horseflies left dents in yore flesh, while the gnats blinded ya'.  Thar's not easy, then thar's really not easy.


darkfoam said...

French frozen foods .. Gasp! Say it ain't so aunty.
Yah, we certainly had fun in the olden/golden days of the blogosphere. I can't imagine not having met some of the folks I have. And, yes, fb did take away some of the momentum. If it weren't for fb I would have lost track of the bloggers I treasured knowing. I know what you mean about the ads and slogging through posts that endorse a product just to find the occasional personal post. I just can't do it no matter how nice the person seems.
After a long hiatus I've kinda, sorta have come back to blogging I reckon. I'm glad you are still here.

Aunty Belle said...

Foamy, youse a dear thang. Thanky fer them kind words--an' I'se jes' so pleased to heah youse sorta come back--I'll be right over.

Aunty Belle said...

All y'all, I need apologize, I think. I doan mean folks whose blogs is about their own profession is commecrialized--like La Diva as a caterer. She does use her blog to promote her OWN gig, but she ain't shillin' fer Rachel Ray's condiments or Mario's pots an' pans. Know what I mean?

An' Czar is a word-man, so we knows his blog does deal wif' his profession, but he ain't tryin' to push us'uns to Amazon to buy books he gits a cut of jes' fer referrin' folks to Amazon... I'se cringing heah to think any of y'all is offended- I mean those blogs full of advertisements, or the content designed to hawk the products of other companies.

fishy said...

Good Morning Aunty!
A wonderful peak at the Porch this morning! One day we might all surprise you and show up for a glass of tea or that promised cup of cawfee. It sure looks welcoming.

On the blog front:
Visiting you on your Porch is a personal experience we have all enjoyed. With the current rash of intruders and promoters it's more like a recognizing nod in the grocery aisles. Nice, but no meat.

Like you. I miss our "water cooler" gang. An extraordinary collection of
individuals earning their way ... their own way. Not in an office, not on a fixed schedule not with "peers" in the adjacent corner office.

I have declined to facebook or twitter because I find them persistently irritating. I do know it is possible to set up very private facebook accounts so a limited group...say your book club...are the only folks with access.
FB is not like blogging...more like reporting or commenting on a thread in progress than good story telling and visiting.

It is every bit as sad as Frozen French cuisine. Both, like you mentioned, are indicators of culture in flux.

I will say, when in France in late 2011, I found the food in most cities pricey and in most rural areas reasonable. There is a limit to how much one can rationally pay for a cheffy meal. One of the charms of the French philosophy has been great food is for everyone! In every village, every little bistro, every corner bakery. Not an experience exclusive to the wealthy. Like here, the folks in the middle will bear the brunt of the change.

It is true there are new methods for freezing to maintain the freshness. If the deal is the sauces are made in batches and frozen in new age equivalents to ice cube trays .. I can't critique them for that as I have been doing it for years. You can always tell though as the once frozen goods tend to separate on the dish.

It might be a good sous chef costs double what it cost 18 years ago ...but is the Euro worth the same as a Franc was 18 years ago? In reality the Sous's of today are probably working for less.

I don't think anyone would be distressed by your comments about the commercialization of blogs in general Aunty. If we cannot say what we think on our own blogs, what is the point?

moi said...

There is an ebb and flow to everything, isn't there? I'm a blogger slacker these days, mainly because I'm busier than I've ever been and I struggle sometimes to blog about something new. I sure do deeply miss the heyday of our little group, though, when things flew fast and lively on a daily basis. Maybe one day that energy will return.

In the meantime, I do like to keep up with all you fine folks, though, so I drop by regularly, even if I don't comment.

As for what's happening in France, you know my take on that: government force of any kind is tyranny. The only way to ensure economic vigor, much less parity, is to disengage the state from the process.

Maybe one day the French will re-remember that, and it is we, the so called free and the brave who are slouching towards socialism, who will be served.

Milk River Madman said...

I agree with Moi in that I miss the daily posts, all the games and great participation we had in them and like Moi, wait for their return. The tie you made between frozen French food and our blogging was a great read. Thank you AB.

Jenny said...

Well, I'm another Blogger that has stopped blogging and when I think about why, I realize it's a combination of many things. One, my posts used to take me HOURS to construct and it began to feel like a job and not joy in writing them. There was also a great deal of time spent reading blogs that I just don’t allow myself right now. It was a bad habit to bring to work. Facebook clearly took some of my energy and once many bloggers merged into real life, maintaining the two began to become too much. I miss it, though. I often see something, hear something and say to myself "that would be a good blog post." For the record, FB is NOT blogging and never will be. I just don’t know if I have the energy to devote to making it something other than photos of my dogs, because that’s all my FB is. XOXO

SophieMae said...


Wunnerful to see new porchly posts! So happy you're on the mend! Sure you can blend the above link's message with the frozen French food fiasco.

God willin' an' the crick don' rise, blogging will soonly be creeping back into my life.

God bless you, Aint B!
Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i^

chickory said...

Great post, Aunty, Im gonna talk a little about bloggin' but let's get Nestle out of the way. Its like those French chefs have opened the back door to Satan himself. The CEO of Nestle thinks water is not a human right, and should be privatized. He also seeks to patent existing free medicinal and nutritious plants. Then there was the "free" baby formula given to third world mamas - just enough to get them to the dried up stage and then. whoops, gotta buy it now, just like the Indian cotton farmers' deal with Monsanto. The old saw about nothing being free should be crystal by now. I tell ya what I would do if I was a french chef, prepare real food as an act of rebellion - give it away, barter for it, run the gift economy play. We are truly on the precipice of losing everything to a handful of central controllers.

Yeah, nothings free. Hence the ad laden blogs, the trickle down of commodifying everything. everything! I don't go to commerce blogs. Everybody thinks theyve got something to monetize - like lots of little Nestle CEOs.

here are some reasons I dont blog (but reserve the right to start again)

1. first would be the soul crushing horror of our political system. for years, people would come over to my blog and rag on GWB. Now look at them. not a peep on this Devil Obama. The disgusting state of this sick and dumb ass nation prevents me from writing because I should be spending every second trying to figure out how to get out of this dumb animal feed lot. LIterally ask my husband everyday did he talk to the immigration attorney. I am not kidding. He was born in Chile. we dont have to take this! Sadly he does not yet realize; no, believe, what. this. is.

2. To have a blog means to visit other blogs. To do it well takes thought and care, and im in short supply of it. Im weary.

3. political correctness. the best days of blogging were the dogfight years as K9. that will never happen again now that I know it is a waste of time. But at least it was vital. Now the real fight is how to function in an absurd Orwellian cultural trash heap.
I would write about it, but of course, it will just be mined for my prole-file and stored in the giant alimentary storage unit Napolitano.

4. Facebook is easy. thats why people use it. it requires very little of you, and it is the perfect platform for the times. I should get off of it. and actually plan to sanitize my page now that its too late - but i do run a biz page for the farmers market on FB and it has become the defacto Chickory page in many respects.

5. I am physically tired. COme up and see my garden, you will know why.


Aunty Belle said...

Yep, I can concur on rural French
Food, but it woan be long a'fore they follow along jes' to survive, unless they form a new resistance!!

It is the commercializing of everything that is destroying us.

Moi, Cherie,
French need to re- remember? Indeed!! Happy youse busy, tha's a good sign. Bloggin' is a time thief, I knows tha's true. But, drat,Moi, I done thought youse gonna weigh in on the sadistic editor thread.....

Aunty Belle said...


Always happy to git a visit from ya, thanky fer the kind words. It's the authenticity that we yearn fer, ya know? The honest exchange, even the prickly ones, tha's fer the sheer real- ness, not fer a referral, or a PayPal link.

Aw Sweetpea, I knows ya did put hours I toit, an' us'uns loved yore sharing of driftwood, crafts , nephews, puppy antics. An' even now wouldn't we allbe over at PamOKC to check on her? Tha's the blogger vibe we miss.

moi said...

Hah! I love that editor's little game. Writing is nothing BUT making connections, and while those assignment were absurd, I bet y'all were better writers for them.

All editors are sadistic, as I am beginning to find out since I am writing less and less these days in favor of marshaling the output of others. My tolerance for bad English is, like Chickory's for our political system, reaching postal proportions.

Aunty Belle said...


Youse ringing mah bell wif' this great info...you an me an chickory oughta form our own consortium -- heh.real tickled to hear youse gonna take-up pen an' camera again.


Tell it kiddo! Nestlé of course be one of ''em in cahoots wif syngenta and monsteranto. The water wars is on us. Be sure to follow Sophie's link.

On political yak in blog world, I know,I know. GWB will be remembered by history differently . Not as no saint,but as a fella who seen the writing on the wall. The Syrians have chem weapons an' an so did Saddam. But the real deal were the Chinese an' Saddam ...ya know mah mind on that.
Anyhoo, I git yore point on the weary factor. But, I think ya did more good than ya know. An' absolutely git the prole-filing. Oh tha's ripe.

Aunty jes' means to say that seems to me the heart of this thang is authenticity, as I said above....iffin' y'ain't got no time fer bloggin' , jes try notto let yore whole existence dance to the giant maw of the machine.

Aunty luvs all y'all.

Aunty Belle said...

Moi, heh. Oh, now ya can devise yore own editor torments!!!

Show us the shoes of a postal Moi!

Pam said...

Aunty, I've been one of the worst with keeping up with the blog lately. I have no real reason, just that life intervenes with priorities. I agree totally that everything for the most part is trying to sell you something and I will add FB to that mix as well. But I do know a lot of folks on FB, and lots of family, and we do stay in touch that way. Maybe I just haven't had a lot to say. My blog was only ever a sort of online diary anyway, not too many posts on the state of the world or politics, of which I had to (and still do) need to keep my mouth shut about for other reasons. But I value our little group here and talk about my bloggie friends often. This group has value, and value to me.

MamaHen said...

Things have definitely changed in the blog world and sadly so. I realized the other day I have been writing mine for 7 years and it's nothing like it used to be. I get a few short comments from a few folks but from what I see people are just wore slap out or don't see the point or have the energy to converse anymore. Chicory makes a good point; FB is easy, no deep thought required. But, I keep writing, mostly for me I guess, and maybe people will want to reach out again some day.

Aunty Belle said...

you have no idea how happy I am to see ya' heah-- oh gracious, who y'all has been through. So sorry. But Okies? Fine folks an' bless 'em every one. Hope ya do blog again soon--fer shure ya' has plenty of stuff to tell now.

EdiRex!! Hey you!
Yep, think ya nailed it-- people doan see the point. The Porch is about 7 years ole too, so we's seen the same trend. But I does like the idea of it bein' a sort of public diary, whar' we can have a peek into how others is livin'--I never fail to find good stuff in yore 'Bama homestead.

SophieMae said...

Just in case ya thought it couldn't get any worse...

I have to admit, the 2nd story SEEMS far-fetched, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. *sigh*



SophieMae said...

Sorry, I didn't notice the date on that 2nd link. Last year. Have yet to find a follow-up report.

SophieMae said...

How ya be, Aint B? Hope you're feeling fine and having a blessed Memorial Day weekend!

'Spose ya heard the hoopla stirred up by the new pope? Can 'the end' be far? *smh*

Aunty Belle said...

Sophie Mae,
The poor bees....neonics "target the brain of pests" Yep, we'll then, if it be systemic and cumulative in the plants, what of a poor infant or infant food made from the fruit or veg that suz sprayed wif' such pizen?

Thanky fer keepin' me updated on this...folks oughta be flabbergasted to learn 30% of our honeybee crop bit the dust this winter. Can anybody say famine ahead?

As fer the Pope raisin' eyebrows, heh. Which topic does ya mean? When he said even atheists is redeemed? Some went to squalling over that...but it be true, Christ made redemption availale to ever' body wif' His sacrifice, but not all is wiling to receive it...tha's the part the newspapers left out.

SophieMae said...

Aint B, I did wonder what else he said. The few reports I read were skimpy. Not like the media enjoys stirrin' the pot or anythin', heh! If he actually said that atheists are OK, they can get to heaven just by doing good deeds... well, that's another kittle entirely! As you said, it is a gift offered to everyone. It is each person's choice whether to accept that gift. Good deeds ain't gonna get 'em nuthin' but brownie buttons.

I can't recollect whether I shared with ya the report of unborn babes being fed diabetes drugs to see if they can prevent obesity? It's a sad, sad day when mothers will, for a few dollars, let people experiment on their chilluns.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh heh, the newshounds would pitch Martin Luther from the grave it it would sell a headline or two...no no no, atheists warn't given no hall pass by Pope Francis, not that any atheistis would pay it any mind anyhoo. Onliest at folks to git in a swivet is other Christians.

The "doing good" wuz in a particular context, taken from the gospel reading that day, Mark 9:38-40. Recall in that passage how the disciples wuz vexed about some "not of their company" doin' good thangs?

“This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation.”

He goes on to say that crated in the image of God, we all, atheists too, can have the urge to do good. And he suggests that if atheists do ood, we will all meet there. Now fer the fun n' games. In the newshounds interpretation, "there" meant heaven. But the transcript, which is --alas-- incomplete, doan say heaven. Many believe the pope used "there" as an imaginary place where good is done for the sake of the good, and we can meet others of good will there, uh, there at the crossroads of whar' all manner of folks come to "do good". Or, he coulda meant "there" to be a place of peace, 'cause looky heah at what he said:

"And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good."

Hope this clarifies a bit. But, fer lurking atheists, while the pope ain't given ya a free pass through the pearly gates, he is tellin' the rest of us that we need to keep in mind that y'all is dear chillens of God too, even iffin' ' ya doan know it. Yet. So we hope to see you "there."

Aunty Belle said...

Oooops, I doan mean imaginary imaginary place, like neVer never land, I mean imaginary as in a theoretical "place" whar' good communal and public policy is set, "a place" whar' the culture of respect flourishes. We'll all meet thar' whatever our belief system. A "place" whar' we can work together fer the good of all.

R.Powers said...

Love your take on blogging. I finally joined face book recently and immediately my blog posting dropped,
Ironically, I was urged to join FB by a respected writer friend to increase exposure for PF!

Aunty Belle said...

Yeah, FC, it doan work. A unty wuz lured to FB fer same reason. FB is a lazy communication app, tha's all. Folks doan have to have a thought or a comment, they jes' thumb up ya'. It doan serve the blogs because it has dumbed down communications such that folks doan wanna read much or say much...