Pierre Verdaguer, ” The politics of food in post-war II French Detective fiction “, in Weiss, Allen, Schehr, Lawrence, in, French food, 2001, pp 184-202
The chapter of the book French food presented here is very entertaining. The author enters the world of French officers in a manner somewhat unusual, since he is studying this literature through the culinary preferences of the heroes of detective novels. Pierre Verdaguer is interested in the culinary preferences of Maigret, Arsène Lupin, Marcus Rea and many others. But it is Maigret who will engage in this ticket to our attention. Perhaps this is the charm a little outdated Simenon, although published in the Pléiade now…or rather, echoes of an analysis bourdieusienne that caught my attention. In fact, Pierre Verdaguer shows that the rural origins of Maigret appear in many places in the novels of Simenon.
The evocation of the culinary preferences of the commissioner Maigret
Maigret, in spite of his glorious career in paris, remains most comfortable in the kitchens of the respondents, or in her garden, (it is even mistaken for the gardener in Maigret gets upset by a bourgeois who was heard to boast about his qualities as a commissioner). The mention of his taste for the ” macaronis au gratin “, the blanquette of veal or the egg, milk, prepared by his wife, serve not only to make the character more sympathetic. According to Pierre Verdaguer, Simenon uses it to highlight the rigidity of the class structure of French. P 188 ” This is clearly a year indication of the rigidity of the English class structure, purpose from a more symbolic point of view, it also reflects the need for policemen who serve the French Republic to be mindful of the underprivileged. “
But above all, Simenon shows by how many the rural origins of the commissioner are sticky to its new context socialisateur. As pointed out by the author, the ” macaroni au gratin “, which are characteristic of the origins of Maigret. “It is a plain, tasty and nourishing dish, very much like pot-au-feu, whose preparation does not require particular skills “. This is not without evoking these phrases of Bourdieu page 216 of the Distinction “One could, about the popular class,” speaking of frank-eating as we talk about straight talk. The meal is placed under the sign of abundance (which does not exclude restrictions and limits) and above all, the freedom : they are made of flat “elastic”, “abound”, such as soups or sauces, pasta or potatoes (almost always associated with vegetables and served with a ladle or spoon, to avoid too much measuring and counting, the opposite of all that cutting, like roasts. “