Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fireworks over American fare

While the Anglo-eateries keep coming (and coming), there are still the ancient standbys.

As a student at the American University of Paris, I used to keep The Real McCoy in business. At least it seemed like it at the time. I was addicted to their tuna sandwich. It became a security blanket to me; a little taste of home. A reliable connection to my Yankee roots and all-American diet.

The shape, size and flavor of that modest sandwich is something that has stayed with me for 17 years now. I’ve often thought of going back for it since living here, but, well, I guess I’ve been busy eating other things. Until the other day.

There are now two Real McCoy locations; the original one on rue de Grenelle is just a dry goods store. I became a little panicked when I went in and realized there was no sandwich menu until they told me they opened a “café” around the corner. It was really just another store with a couple seats—but I could get my sandwich there so I couldn’t have been happier.

Both locations are like cozy little pantries, stocked floor to ceiling with colorful packaged goods from home. Talk about a nostalgic rush! Talk about temptation! Talk about being embarrassed of our industrial food nation!

As I waited for my sandwich to be made, I ogled the goods as if I were in the Museum of Yesteryears.

Duncan Hines cake mix…

…pancake mix and syrup…

…peanut butter—Jif or Skippy, not some hippie variety from the bio store—and jelly. And Fluff. Miam miam!

Popcorn and Pop Tarts.

They have condiments up the wazoo…

And candy, too.

That tuna sandwich? Of course it was nowhere near as good as I remembered it being. Blame it on my aged or refined taste buds. Blame it on a new sandwich maker (wouldn’t it be sad if it were the same person, slapping on the French’s mustard??). But, really, I think it just goes to show that things are never as good as the first time. That you can’t go home again.


  1. " . . . things are never as good as the first time." Does that include EVERYTHING?

    Happy (early) 4th Ms. Expat!

  2. Oh God ! if only a Real McCoy would open here !
    Our apt that we rented was about half a block or so from the rue de Grenelle Real McCoy ..
    French's mustard on a tuna sandwich?
    I quit eating tuna sandwiches here as the canned tuna is too strong tasting for me. My diet changed so much !
    I was not overweight but I sure dropped a few pounds anyway !
    I sometimes wonder if Paris would have had that unexpected result .. can you eat anything you want there ?

  3. I wonder how long I would have to be in Paris before I visited The Real McCoy? About 15 years ago I spent a month in Montreux, Switzerland. The guitar player I was working with(we were singing at the casino)ate at the MacDonald's once a week; although I'll admit to having a craving for a cheeseburger after about three weeks I held out until we returned to Nashville.

  4. What does "embarrassed of our industrial food nation" mean?