Sour Grapes
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Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day (as well as the birthday of my eldest child). Bonjour Paris uses the occasion to discuss the possibilities of a "Bastille Day picnic, presumably to parallel the 4th of July American picnic." In it, the origins of the lowly baguette are revealed.

It seems that Napoleon I, who — besides becoming Emperor of France — spent years in the artillery leading many an army through the foothills of France and elsewhere, had a major concern: Too much room in his soldiers´┐Ż haversacks was being taken up by their provisions. He realized that the round loaf of country bread that they each put at the bottom of their bags was much to blame. So, he approached the army baker and commanded him to come up with a solution in order to make room for ammunition. This is when the baguette was born. With the bread now slim enough to be placed in each leg of their trousers, the sack was left empty for more necessary equipment.

No wonder I majored in History — who wouldn't want to have a tidbit like that at their disposal? [via Head Butler]

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