Monday, November 15, 2010

The French or New Yorkers, who should we hate more?

Talk to anyone you know that's worked in a bakery for an extended amount of time and ask them "Who do you hate more.....the French, or the New Yorkers?" More often than not, if you find somebody who is willing to lift the lid off this question and answer, you'll end up delving into a discussion that can go on for an extended period of time.It can be light hearted and fun, or sometimes it leads to toss manhole covers.
Before I tackle this question further, I'm just going to tell those of you from Paris or the 646 to chill, This post is being written in the spirit of fun, and directed primarily at the bakers from said areas. OK....lets get started!

Danny Klecko hates the FRENCH because..........

First off, the French bakers that I have talked with not only in my community, but at IBIE shows or at the AIB pretty much seem to think that they should get a free pass on things because their "system" has been anointed by God and they are his elective.I should point out that most of my experience has come in the field of bread and not pastry, but I could easily write 50 columns on why you should make fun of pastry chefs no matter what country they come from.
Both the French and Italian bread bakers think they are more accomplished in their field than one another, and certainly the rest of the world, but to be honest, both groups pretty much spend the majority of their time in camps that work almost exclusively with lean doughs (flour-water-yeast-salt). Their flour of choice is almost always Canadian Patent, and with that said you can be pretty certain that the protein levels are low. 
I've always felt that the Germans were technically the best bakers. They use all types of wheat and a range of rye (and the ancillary ingredients that attach to them) that surely necessitates sweetening agents like honey, molasses and so on.
If you go into a baking convention you'll find that most ethnic groups will start off amongst themselves, but as the event goes on..... coexistence is certain to unravel. Don't be surprised if the Dutch guy selling ovens has a cig in the parking lot with a sale rep from Toronto, or I still remember a pack of Czech guys talking smack to the Pollacks by the Urinals at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The French are different though. They always seem to show up wearing matching uniforms,they covet neckerchiefs and they love to talk really loud at their table, that is until an American or German sidles up and then crickets jump out of the woodwork.The second the interloper leaves, the festival resumes.
Now I'm sure some of you will shout back at me that you knew a sweet guy named Henry at your coffee shop and he made greatest croissants on Sundays and he was the most affable guy you'd want to meet. My response is that Henry's probably lying, he's actually Swiss, think about it......who wants their Sunday morning croissant to be inspired in Geneva?

Danny Klecko hates NEW YORKERS because.........

First off and most importantly they are allies with the Yankees.Short of Nazi's....I hate the Yankees. In fact that has been one of the hardest bakes I've ever had to endure. A couple years ago when they were in town for the play offs (the year Gardy threw Nathan for 3 innings and we lost) we had to bake for their hotel. Sure a guy wants to do unmentionable things to their product, but you just can't, there are ethics that even cover the boys in pin stripes to the right to indulge in meals w/o fear of being harmed.
If you've ever worked in a bake shop out side of New York with some cat who comes from New york, I 100% guarantee you that on his / her first day on the Job, he/she will walk through every department, find the supervisor and in a condescending tone tell them "When we make these in New York" or "In New York we like to do these a little differently, let me show you." Its as if it's the only place on earth where every single person in the city has as much cache as Bono. How can this be?
Years ago I worked with a guy named Mastersimone. He came in and talked to owner ship and bamboozled them with his east coast confidence, and to his credit....they fell for it. They hired him on the spot at Journeyman's wages w/o making him showcase his abilities. Dude was reckless, he over mixed his doughs, underproofed his pan breads, and threatened to kill us all when we refered to him as "Jersey".
I remember on one particular payday, the bakery was having trouble clearing it's payroll checks, so our shift headed over to the casino when we got off, they'd cash anybody's paycheck. Most of us dropped around $20 -$50 each during the first hour, but our good buddy Mastersimone lost everything. He literally started crying and asked us to loan him some cash so he could win his money back.
Most of the boys offered the same response "In Saint Paul - we don't like to lose our bankroll." I'll bet 8 of us fed him the identical line. He ended up getting pissed off and started panhandling random gamblers by the slot machines.Needless to say, security gave him the boot within minutes, and I never saw him after that.

For those of you who have a history with Danny Klecko, you know he usually is about the love, but every once in awhile your senses are peeked if you attach yourself to a worthy nemesis and with me its always been the French and the New Yorkers, I'm not certain which group I like less.....but if you want to offer suggestions, I'd certainly love to hear them.


  1. Hmmm, if I had to pick between them I'd choose the French just because even though they are astonishingly egotistical dinks, they sound so much better in their rudeness than Noo Yawkehs (and I grew up just outside NYC).

  2. said "dinks"! Yeah I can't argue that the French sound really cool, and I do have a Lady friend Vanessa who is from Paris, and she bakes like nobody you'll ever meet. alright.....the pendulum is tilting.......

  3. I said dinks because I couldn't remember any good insults from all my years of French, way back when. Plus, we had a French exchange student this summer and he was darling. he much preferred American pancakes to crepes and couldn't say clothes, he said 'clozees' which chipped away at alleged French superiority. lol

  4. PS I am not a Yankees fan... or a Mets fan either, if they count at all (and I suspect they don't).

  5. I love the French. Partly because Americans seem to love ot hate them, but also because I actually met some very nice people while visiting Paris. I also met a couple of d-wads, but those you can find just about anywhere... Usually, they were Americans. JK ;-)

    That said, anytime I traveled throughout Europe and came across the Ugly American, I usually kept quiet and pretended to be anything but American... Good grief you morons, you don't wear your red flannel shirt and cowboy hat in a European airport. Use a little common sense, people...

    That said, all this hate coming from someone who sold Paris Hilton's Chihuaha biscuits with caviar and escargot at his last retail sale. Things that make you go, "hmmmm..."

  6. I hate equally because new yorkers are new yorkers and think they are the best just because of where they live same as the french, just a bunch of egotystical pricks, i love my master baking friends to show who they are through what they can create that is not only standard but outside the box and full of flavor and nutrients, Klecko brah, you accomplish this, also, Klecko is love, tough knock ur head around cuz u need to learn something but it needs to get pounded through to a person cuz they just won't understand it any other way at times kinda love but also gentle compassionate love, Thanks for everything you've taught me big and small- The kid Mitch

  7. Rhillary37 - My pastry chef Gilson had a French exchange student last year, she wanted to spend her free time at Walmart and because they studied Walmart's business practices at school. She bought piles of Maybalene mascara because it was cheap. Also Gilson's neighbor had a French student named Lancelot. On the first morning when they woke up, he Lancelot was found nude, in the kitchen eating Special K.

  8. New Yorkers feel some fellow New Yorkers give us a bad name. This egotistical prick NYer grew up a Giants fan and then followed the hapless Mets because being in the park was good enough for us. Never a Yankee fan. Then we lucked into the Jets and the stoic Giant fans hated us.

    I bake now knowing that my technical skills are the weakest part of my story. But I can look at a set of ingredients and the corresponding numbers and get a good feel whether the formula can be improved. In theory, I love theory and analyzing/troubleshooting. To me, baking should be play time and the only thing a shop needs to eliminate is snotty, negative managers who take away all the fun to get things right in the back-of-the-house.

  9. I think that's one of the reasons I like Seinfield as much as I did. It would have been so easy for him to cop that typical New York additude, but no....Jerry supported the Mets. I have great respect for anybody who support the underdog team in a city that has multiple squads.
    I couldn't agree more as well with the comment that says Snotty nad Baking cannot coexsist. If they do.....bad Karma will certainly follow.

  10. I love New Yorkers attitude and I love Ricky Boo Boo!
    One point surprises me (and you know I am the first one to criticize the French): French usually don't attract attention. All the French bakers I met were humble and very discreet.

  11. Vanessa, your point is well taken, and spot on! I think the other difference is the French actually hold standards, most new Yorkers...or American bakers for that matter dont, but none the less.....that doesn't mean that you are not tordu

  12. I had to share a good insult with you all, as I learned it from my ex-french luv-ahh here in Brussels. I mistakenly put "connard" on my grocery list instead of "cannard" which means duck. "Connard" means dick, not a penis, but what you call a guy who is a jerk. Funny thing, though, they have both cannard and connard at my grocery store in the French neighborhood....