Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The leak & Mrs.Vanderindevoorde

The Belgians have a bit of a situation on their hands. And they are very, very annoyed with it.

Imagine you're a tiny country that happens to sit on massive culinary treasures. Probably enough reserves in refined foods and crude beverages to last several more centuries. In other words, you could be the world's envy. Understandably, you adopt a very low profile and avoid becoming the next geo-culinary hotspot. Your best bet is to put up a smokescreen around your countries' culinary fields and tightly control the flow of information crossing your national borders.

That's exactly the strategy that was adopted by the Belgian Culinary Ministry. In recent decades, the Belgian international propaganda machine has relentlessly built a smokescreen of beer, chocolate and, you guessed it - wafels. The sneaky little Belgians wanted the world to believe that's all there is to their country. A great deceiving maneuver it sure was. Belgium's reputation would get steadily reduced to just three words - beer, chocolate, waffles, and the real Belgian culinary treasure chest would remain locked away - forever!

Last week a memo from Belgian Culinary Ministry was leaked to "De Standaard", a Flemish newspaper. In the report, the Assistant Secretary of Wafels, Margot Vanderindevoorde, expressed strong concerns that the international culinary smoke screen had started to crumble. "We continue to see strong contributions from chocolate and beer to our simple Belgian image abroad", she said. "However, the credibility of our wafels has been declining at an alarming rate". Ms. Vanderindevoorde explained that Wafels in America have now evolved so far from the original Belgian recipe, that they are considered to be more American than Belgian. "In other words, our smokescreen is falling apart. If we are to maintain our image as culinary jokester, we will need an immediate and massive surge to win back the hearts and minds of waffle eaters across the world". The Assistant Secretary concluded the memo with some strong words: "When I say drastic measures are needed, it should be clear that all options are being considered. That may mean removing the waffle from the smokescreen program all together. It may mean replacing the current Belgian waffle with another waffle. This last option may mean we need to share one more of our culinary secrets with the world. Either way, there will be no sacred cows".

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