Vol. 2, Issue 6, February 10, 2004
Dodo: the Other Other White Meat

Cordon Bleu Adds Class on Microwaving

Famed French culinary institute Le Cordon Bleu confirmed this week that a rumor sweeping the internet is true, and that it will begin offering certification in microwaving.

"The march of time is ever forward," said André J. Cointreau, president of Le Cordon Bleu International. "We have long held a rearguard action against the tide of culinary heresy that this represents; but like Roland [Charlemagne's nephew] we cannot forever hold the line."

Graduates of the famed institute, which has been in operation since 1895, have increasingly found that even the most prestigious appointments tend to require knowledge of the cornerstone of American food preparation.

"I was lead chef at the Hilton Las Vegas," said François Gustav, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu. "There came a day when a very prestigious client demanded something called a "Hot-Pocket." It was my Waterloo." Gustav sautéed the convenience food in extra-virgin olive oil, but the customer objected that it "tasted funny," and Gustav was asked to leave.

The microwave has long been an object of ridicule for the French, who see it as a typical American convenience - full of beeping buttons and lights, producing inedible results in record time.

"They just couldn't ignore it any longer," said former New York Times food critic William Grimes. "Love it or hate it, the microwave is a tool particularly suited to modern American cuisine. Those poor Cordon Bleu graduates were getting fired left and right from prominent posts because they couldn't push a button."

The Master of Arts in Gastronomy now includes certification in advanced microwaving, with available subspecialties in popcorn, cheese dips and frozen dinners.

"It is the end of an era," said Cointreau. "But even we must bow before the pressures of the market, and do what we can to make our graduates employable. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go shoot myself."

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