When we think French, we think various foods, culture, fashion. The delicious breakfasts like croissants and French toasts, fashion statements like the classic beret, these are the things we usually associate with the country of France.
However, most “French” things aren’t even close to having their origin in France. Turns out, some of the things that have been famously associated with the country were not invented there. So we present to you a list of things that are not French at all.
So it is right in the name, right? So the kiss has to originate from France. However kissing with tongue is not at all a French tradition. This kiss is in fact, first mentioned in literature in the Kama Sutra, a famous book that was written before France existed as a nation.
The kiss itself dates to at least the fifth century BC. Some even say that Alexander the great discovered it and spread its awareness as a ‘French’ kiss after he conquered India. France used to be a part of the Roman Empire, and the Romans quite enjoyed this kiss.
It is the Americans, however, who gave credit openly to the French when they visited the country in the last two to three centuries. Women in France were more affectionate than in America where kissing was thought to be a bed room behavior. Therefore, the name of a ‘French Kiss’ caught on and is linked to France despite it’s origins.
The Beret is considered to be one of the classic symbol of France. However, it was not invented there. Biblical legend holds that the beret was invented by none other than Noah himself, of flood fame, after he discovered some trampled wool near his sheep pens. The wool became felt, which Noah cut into a circular shape and wore on his head.
The beret was worn at least as early as ancient Greece which was around 1500 BC, and became the most popular hat for men in the Middle Ages. The exact origins of this hat are still a bit hazy, but it was the French shepherds popularized the look to stay warm during cold nights in the 1600s and into the 1700s.
French artists living near certain regions of Paris made the look popular again in the 1800s and 1900s. This is when the beret became the iconic symbol of French artists and, by extension, French people everywhere.
The delicious, syrup-draped bread dish you know as French toast isn’t French at all. In fact, the recipe is so old that it’s been eaten since before France existed. The origins of the French toast go back to ancient Romans living in the early fifth century. They ate what we call French toast regularly. Even Rani in Queen did not know this, but apparently made a mean French toast that her friends in Amsterdam liked, The Romans’ recipe required soaking bread in milk and then frying it in butter or oil, pretty much the same way it’s still cooked today.
So, well, our beloved fries are not French either. Invented in Belgium, their lore says that people were frying potatoes there in the 1600s, giving rise to the popular treat. Villagers started slicing and frying potatoes the way they sliced and fried their fish. Although French fries are a staple today, most Americans didn’t really find out about them until World War I.
US Soldiers stationed in Belgium sampled the fries and created the nickname “French” fries because Belgium’s official language was French. It is also said that Thomas Jefferson, who served as the American Minister to France in the 1700s and took a particular liking to French food. He sampled French fries while in France and took the recipe back home with him.
Manicures are a an part of beauty routines world over, and people have been manicuring their nails for 5,000 years now. The French manicure a relatively new nail trend and was invented in 1927. However, “French” manicure was created in California by famous Hollywood cosmetician Max Factor when he invented two new nail colors.
One was a pinkish shade while he second was a pure white that contrasted perfectly with the other polish when painted just on the tips of the nails. The manicure was popular for years before it was classified as French in the 1970s when Jeff Pink used a style similar to Max Factor’s to create a natural nail look. He was asked to repeat the process on the Paris fashion runways, and the trend quickly caught on as the “French” manicure.
For an authentic experience of the French culture and cuisine, visit Out Of The Blue, Bandra that is celebrating French Food Festival from 17th May to 26th May.