There is a myth that all French cooking is beyond anything human words can describe. That eating a meal in any little hovel in any little town might turn out to be a something your taste buds never quiet recover from. An experience of savors that sends shivers of joy down your spine. The menus offering a variety of things you'd never make yourself: rabbit, veal, or quail for example, café et vin compris.
Except where the kids are concerned. The poor little sods eat ham. Lots and lots of ham.
I don't think we've been to a restaurant yet that didn't have the standard kids menu consisting of chicken nuggets (pronounced "nuugaytes") or jambon blanc et frites, aka a slice of ham and fries. And the ham in question isn't your honey roasted type variety, it's the sliced stuff you find pre-packaged in plastic and perfect for luring your dog back after they've escaped from the garden.
Granted, kids don't really seem to understand the joys of vegetables or exotic grains cooked with a tarragon butter sauce, so the option of those chicken squares or that tantalizing piece of ham seems to work just fine to keep the little people happy while mommy and daddy go all ga-ga over Aligot.
I remember enjoying ham sandwiches as a kid but I don't think I ever took ham as seriously as the French do. I was happy for a slice or two on white bread with a little mustard and the obligatory piece of bright yellow processed cheese food. The idea of having it served on a fancy dinner plate with fries and a toy never occurred to me. Something so simple and easy! These restaurants are making a killing!
In a way, I'm seeing ham like what peanut butter used to be in the States, the "go-to" option for when you're in a hurry and need something to give to the roaring animals in your zoo. And as I mentioned before, it's also a wonderful tool for tricking the tricky husky in your life.
Abaka, aka Harry Houdini, has discovered that when she escapes and starts running insanely around the village, Hubster or I am bound to show up in the 4x4 with slices of ham flying out the windows. Now, every time we start the engine, she starts going berserk, twirling in circles, "The ham truck is coming! The ham truck is coming!"