For many people, everything connected to French culture is considered elegant and wonderful. You can easily add 100 more points to the attractiveness of any object or event if its name has something connected with the motherland of the Eiffel tower and croissants. Surprisingly, many things that we are used to perceiving as French are not French at all.
We at Smiles Tv studied the history and origins of many famous ’French’ things and found out that, in fact, many of them aren’t at all connected with France.
1. French kiss
This is the most intimate kind of kiss assuming the use of not only the lips but also the tongue. It’s interesting to know that France itself didn’t even have a word describing this kind of a kiss up until just recently. It was only in 2014 when Le Petit Robert, the French version of Merriam-Webster, added the new verb ’galocher’ that means ’kissing with the tongue’ to their dictionary.
The expression “French kiss” first appeared in the English language at the beginning of the 20th century. Thanks to the fact that the French were popular in Britain as passionate and inventive lovers, the British decided to immortalize this feature of French passion in the name of the most sensual kiss.
2. French press
The history of the origin of the first French press is quite mysterious, but one version says that its prototype appeared in France in the 1950s. What we can say for sure is that it was patented by Attilio Calimani, an Italian from Milan in 1929, and improved by another Italian guy — Faliero Bondanini in 1958.
So it turns out that the most French device for preparing coffee owes its existence to the Italians. Additionally, it’ s unlikely that you’ll be able to drink a normal drink from a French-press in Parisian cafeterias. This is because espresso remains the most popular drink in most places and it’s prepared using large coffee machines.
3. French bulldog
The ancestors of these Bulldogs were bred in England and came to France at the beginning of the 19th century together with their breeders. They left their motherland because of the Industrial Revolution. The owners of French cafeterias, as well as butchers and courtesans, loved those small English dogs so much that they started to keep them as pets.
It’s believed that this breed of dogs was registered for the first time in France and that’s why the whole world started to call them Frenchies.
4. French braid
This hairdo can’t have French origins because it has already existed for more than 6,000 years already. It was then when cave drawings found in Algeria depicting women with similar braids had been done. Additionally, these braids existed among ancient Celts and Chinese women.
So why is this braid called French? There is no precise answer to this question. However, there is a hypothesis saying that since France has always been considered the capital of the fashion industry, anything popular or progressive was automatically considered French.
The expression ’French braid’ itself first appeared in 1871 in an article of an American magazine Arthur’s Home Magazine. But since the article didn’t provide any pictures, we can’t even be sure that it was the actual “French” braid that was being described there.
5. French manicure
The French manicure actually has American origins. It was invented in 1976 by Jeff Pink, the creator of the ORLY brand. Pink was asked by a Hollywood producer, who needed a universal nail polish that would look good on different actresses.
By the way, initially, this design was called Natural Nail. It got its current name when Jeff went to Paris and painted the nails of models in the fashion capital with his new type of manicure. Since then, his invention stayed in Paris and gained popularity among French women. Later, it got spread all over the world.
It’s worth noting that most French women give preference to a manicure with no polish as well as natural tinges of beige and pink.
6. French toast
Classical French toasts were being consumed a long time before France appeared on the world map. The first mention of this dish can be found in the Apicius — a culinary book from Ancient Rome. Romans loved to feast on fried pieces of bread soaked in milk and eggs.
The classical name ’French toast’ appeared in England in the 17th century. By the way, French people call this dish Pain Perdu, which means ’spoiled bread.’
7. French meat casserole
French meat casserole usually appears on our dining tables as a baked chop under layers of potatoes, cream, and cheese. However, French people have hardly ever heard of this method of preparing this dish. And, if they have, then the name is different for sure. The most ’French’ method of cooking meat up to now remains bœuf bourguignon — beef stewed with vegetables in a thick wine sauce.
Bonus: French women
Don’t jump to conclusions, French women do exist in France. We are going to talk about those French women whose image is associated with cinematography, media, and the fashion and beauty industry.
Very womanly, charmingly careless, always thin and impeccably stylish — that’s the picture that almost all of us get in our head when we hear the word ’French woman" or " Parisian woman." Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, most of the female residents of France are far from this canonical image.
Some periodicals and individual media personalities started to bust this “myth about French women” telling the whole world that women living in France are the same as women everywhere. They gain extra weight from consuming too much bread, don’t always match their clothes perfectly, and spend a lot of time creating ’natural’ beauty.
That’s why if you ever feel worried that you have no chance of becoming a "classical’ French woman: relax — most French women have no chance either. And that’s actually great because every woman is beautiful the way she is.
What are your favorite items that are French (or not very French) in origin? Please tell us about them in the comments!