June 13, 2011 § 2 Comments
Vintage European Posters loves France and its products: VEP loves posters of course, French foods … and now French interns.
Vintage European Posters has just acquired a new import from France: my name is Candie — a sweet directly coming from the best French food region, le Périgord. Le Périgord is known for its precious truffles, delicious duck confit and foie gras. It is in the region of Bordeaux in the South West of France.
I will be traveling with Vintage European Posters for the summer. I will be writing this blog for a little while, bringing you the freshest news about our shows, our collection and the business. I will also be telling you some stories about the French and their relationship to posters and the products they advertise.
As a start, let me tell you about our lovely Maggi poster.
You have probably already noticed the sweet expression on the little’s girl’s face, the rich red color of her dress, the Art Nouveau background. What you might not know is that Firmin Bouisset chose his own children as models! The little girl holding the Maggi sign is the artist’s daughter. She is the model for the very famous Chocolat Menier Poster.
Chocolat Menier is one of the most famous posters of the Belle Epoque Era, and has been lovingly reproduced all over the United States on coffee mugs and tea trays, greeting cards and lunchboxes. I bet Bouisset’s daughter had no idea she would be so well loved more than 100 years after she was lovingly captured in a poster by her father.
Here is Firmin Bouisset’s son captured in the LU biscuits poster and also beloved by many Americans — and French — today.
Now let me tell you the story behind those brands, or rather their importance in the memory and everyday life of many French people.
One of Maggi’s most famous product is the bouillon cube, a little flavored cube that you can add to your stocks in order to give them a nice and rich meaty flavor. This product has long been used by French cooks to replace the traditional meat stock — too long to make and expensive, especially in times of shortage after the two world wars.
Even now in 2011, my mom still uses it when she doesn’t really have time to make soup. A French woman from the countryside, she makes a point of eating soup every day. The first time I asked her what she put in her soup, and she confessed she had used a “cube Maggi,” she winked at me and told me she had cheated (“tricher”) but that if we didn’t tell, our guests wouldn’t see the difference. It was her little trick she said, her little secret to make good food and quickly — even when she invited people to stay for dinner at the last minute.
As for Lu’s petit beurre, it has always been my Dad’s favorite biscuit –this is true for many French people as well. At every breakfast, he would dip a couple of biscuits in his coffee and eat them. Meanwhile, I would be eating my petit beurre’s’ teeth’ or ridges one by one, then dip the rest in my hot cocoa — or suck on my Dad’s coffee-flavored biscuits.
When I moved to the US, I bought some random brand’s bouillon cubes, and some American cookies, made some soup and some coffee, hoping to get the same rich Maggi taste of my mom’s soups, and the melting buttery flavor of my Dad’s petit beurres. But it just wasn’t the same. Now where can I find some Lu and Maggi?