Monday, August 8, 2011

The Life And Death Of French Bread

French baker Jean-Louis Hecht is shown opening the back of his baguette dispenser, which loads 120 baguettes, in Paris, Monday, Aug. 8, 2011. The baker from northeast France has rolled out a 24 hour automated baguette dispenser, holding out the promise of warm, fresh bread available for hungry night owls, graveyard shift workers, and anyone else who forgot or didn't have time to pick up a fresh baguette during the corner bakery's opening hours.

French police are preparing for possible rioting and attacks on the bread dispensing machines by French purists who regard the baguette as a symbol of French pride and national identity. French blood has been spilled for the baguette for centuries and there have been reported threats on the life of Monsieur Hecht. There already has been at least one suspected suicide committed by an elderly French man in protest against the automated baguette dispensers.

Hecht laughs off these threats by pointing to the success of McDonald's Burger franchises and the growth of Starbucks coffee shops, replacing the familiar demi-tasse cups of espresso and "un cafe au lait."

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