Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 14 we celebrate Bastille Day at Texas French Bread with a few specials to satisfy your inner francophile. Throughout dinner service, we'll be offering glasses of French rosé, bowls of mussels and sides of frites for $7 each item. We hope you'll bring your close friends to eat and drink together on our patio as the French so love to do.
Now, as many of you may be vaguely aware, Bastille Day represents French independence from the monarchy and memorializes the storming of the Bastille - a prison famously used for political detainees that once even held writer and satirist Voltaire. Less well known was that the prison was on the verge of closure for budgetary reasons, and there were apparently only seven actual prisoners held inside the Bastille at the time of its storming (four counterfeiters, two "sexual deviants", and I have no idea what the other guy did). But there was a point to be made, and that point was all about dismantling an iconic government symbol and taking a stand against Louis XVI's reign.
Leading up to the big day, France had been deeply submerged in fiscal crisis and food shortages for quite some time - sacré bleu! This seemed to have little effect on the king and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who wined and dined the country's aristocracy regularly with decadence. On the eve of July 14th, when there wasn't enough bread to feed all the peasants, Marie Antoinette is rumored to have exclaimed, "Let them eat cake!" The more accurate translation of her famous words is, "Let them eat Brioche!" - most peasants at the time ate rough whole grain breads, while the fat cats enjoyed breads made from more expensively milled white flours. Enraged with the indulgences of the royalty, the French took the the streets, released the prisoners of the Bastille (all 7 of them), and gained control of Paris. Liberté, égalité et fraternité became the slogan of the revolution.
More seriously - I'm keenly aware of the debt we at Texas French Bread owe to French culture and cuisine. The idea of sitting and enjoying a leisurely meal with freshly baked bread and fine wine (pretty much our entire "raison d'être" at Texas French Bread) might not exist without the French and their revolutionary notion that the good life belongs to all of us. So we want to pay homage to the country that has so influenced our style of cooking, our interest in wine and our laissez faire attitude in the face of life's vicissitudes.
With that in mind, we will have plenty of bread and plenty of cake for everyone at the restaurant tomorrow evening - not to mention great wine and a refreshing summer menu. So please join us to celebrate Bastille Day, take advantage of our specials and raise a glass to the dissolution of the French monarchy.
A votre santé!