I accused my husband of being a culinary racist the other day. This was after I asked him, carefully concealing my enthusiasm/pride, if he'd enjoyed our meal. The one I'd (lovingly) prepared for him while making sure our beloved two-year-old didn't stick her fingers in sockets etc. It wasn't haute cuisine, but it was a nice mix of tasty food and I'd made an effort.
His reply, "Yes, it was simple, but good."
Ouch. This is not exactly a compliment coming from a French person. This is like telling your kindergartener that the drawing of rainbows and stick figures is no Da Vinci, but it's coming along.
Luckily I've been in France long enough, and around my husband long enough, I might add, that I don't burst into tears at these double-edged sword type "compliments". But it bugged me. And as we were drifting off to sleep that night I continued asking him about it. Not in a confrontational way (for once) but repeating neutrally that I'd taken the time to prepare this meal for him.
I even tried the "I-statements". As in, "I feel like you're making fun of me a bit when you say that." He swore he wasn't. I think the French food snob, er, I mean, expert in him couldn't help but comment on the complexity, or lack thereof, of the meal. I suppose it's genetic.
On the other hand, he can be downright territorial about the American desserts I make. He nearly pouted when I made chocolate chip cookies for his birthday when one of his friends was also there to sample them. Less for Remi, of course. And when I recently made madeleines, those delicate French scallop shaped cakes, he said, yes, but it's a French dessert. Since when am I not allowed to make French desserts?
Next time I'll just make hotdogs and brownies and maybe everybody will be happy.