94 - Gastronomic Cartography: the France of Breads
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
This brilliant map is in a gang of one, for the time being – gastronomic cartography. An intriguing category nonetheless: La France des pains (‘The France of Breads’) visually demonstrates the place of origin of France’s different local types of bread. It turns out they come in a lot more shapes than the one foreigners (non-French foreigners, that is) usually associate with a French baguette.
That shape is represented by the six stick-like loafs forming a little fence across the north of France:\n
30 – pain de fantaisie (fantasy bread)
\n31 – pain marchand de vin (wine merchant’s bread)
\n33 – pain saucisson (sausage bread) and
\n35 – pain boulot (work bread);
but also by\n
46 – pain condé (?)
\n46 – le tordu (twisted bread); and
\n69 – le phoenix, pain viennois (the phoenix or viennese bread) further south.
Interesting to note is that the elongated shape of the ‘typical’ French bread has quite some competition from the atoll-shaped bread:\n
12 – (illegible)
\n44 – pain collier (collar bread)
\n43 – le fer à cheval (horseshoe bread)
\n49 – (illegible)
\n52 – la couronne bordelaise (the crown of Bordeaux)
Other local French bread types more notable for their name than for their shape, are:\n
4 – pain chapeau (hat bread)
\n13 – pain bateau (boat bread)
\n22 – pain polka (polka bread)
\n28 – petit pain empereur (little emperor bread; why don’t they just call it ‘Napoleon’?)
\n48 – pain chemin de fer (railroad bread)
This map taken from this page, under the header ‘Gallery of Data Visualization – The Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics’. Anyone with sharper eyesight, a better version of map or some knowledge of French is very welcome to help me decipher the rest of the map!\n
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