jeudi 9 octobre 2014

Story of a French chocolate cake called « meringue au chocolat »

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There is a chocolate cake sold in French boulangeries called « meringue au chocolat » or « tête choco ». This cake was called « tête-de-nègre » until the seventies before it was renamed.

There is also another chocolate cake called « nègre en chemise ». I don't know the name it's called today... Will find out and share with you guys when I get the information.
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They also named a mushroom « tête-de-nègre », today it is known as "cèpe" (Cèpe de Bordeaux )
Source Wikipédia
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They also used to sell candies made of reglisse called « tête-de-nègre ».
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The deep brown colour of the morocco leather used to be called « tête-de-nègre » also. Today it's known as « maroquin brun foncé ».
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They also had an expression called  « travailler comme un nègre » which is used to decsribe someone who overworksand is badly paid, someone who is exploited. It is also used to describe exploitation of one's self, overworking and not taking a break.
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A French perfume maker Jean-Paul Guerlain was convicted and fined €6,000 in March 2012 for using this expression on national television. During a TV interview in October 2010 on France-2 television, Guerlain, an heir to his family’s cosmetics empire, was asked to explain how he worked to create Samsara, one of the company’s most famous fragrance.
« Pour une fois, je me suis mis à travailler comme un nègre. Je ne sais pas si les nègres ont toujours tellement travaillé, mais enfin... » 
« And for once, I started working like a negro. I don’t know if negroes ever worked that hard, but anyway... »
This provoked anger amongst French black community who called for a boycott of all Guerlain products.

Guerlain apoloogised to blacks during the trial saying he deeply regrets his words and that he is anything but racist. He explained that the first part of his phrase was an expression he heard often while growing up (he was born on the 9th of january 1937), while the second part was an idiocy on my part as he was only trying to make the interviewer laugh. He also added it was through black US soldiers in France at the end of World War II that he discovered chewing gum and Coca Cola. 

Today in France, it's politically incorrrect to use any of these old names or the word « nègre » itself.

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