Well-Traveled Frogs: France Imports Favorite Dish

A festival in Vittel, France, last weekend celebrated the culinary delights of a signature French dish — frog legs. But Mort Rosenblum, founding editor of the new quarterly magazine Dispatches, reports that the nation's love for "cuisses de grenouille" is fed by critters shipped from around the globe.

France banned commercial production of the tasty amphibians in 1977. With other laws limiting the frog harvest, most of the ones eaten in France are shipped in from countries as far away as Indonesia.

Rosenblum says the French would prefer to eat homegrown frogs, but they don't have much choice.

"French frogs really taste better to most cooks," he says.

Despite reports that frogs are disappearing from French plates, Rosenblum says they're as popular as ever — and served in dozens of ways, with combinations of cream and garlic and herbs.

"The French do love their frog legs, and as everybody knows, that's sort of the lovable term for the French — the frogs," Rosenblum says. "They're kind of identified with it, because it's such a distinctive dish."

His favorites are the plump frogs found around Burgundy, in a parsley and garlic puree. "People say they taste like chicken," he says. "Not really — they're a little more fishy."

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