Mar 18, 2015

Suck On This: Bonde d'Antan


I have no official statistics on this -- none! But anecdotally, I'm telling you, French kids use pacifiers more than American kids. Not just more, but longer. I often see French children walking around at age three, four, even five with their dummies stuck in their mouths.

Now this guy is so little, he doesn't even know he has hands, so not only can he not be expected to find a thumb if he needs one, he can clearly be excused for sucking, Maggie Simpson-style. One of the words for pacifier in French is "sucette" ("sucker"). The other is "tétine", which relates to "téter" ("to nurse"). No matter what you call it, it does its job and pacifies him.

But I start to find it a little surprising when the child is walking around, heading off to school with actual books and homework and backpacks. However, in the spirit of not wanting to be one of those judgmental parents, let me also say that there are exactly zero kids in Pippa's 5th grade class (CM2) or Gigi's 7th grade (5ème) class who still suck on pacifiers, so one way or the other, they get rid of them eventually.

Hold the presses: I have found one statistic: a small study conducted in Auvergne a few years ago in which 106 children were asked about pacifier use. 47% of them had used a pacifier for an average of 37 months. That means there were some who gave it up at one and others who didn't give it up at five.

This tendency to prolonged use of the pacifier may explain some of the bad teeth issues of French kids (pardon the teeth, and the pun).

THE CHEESE: Bonde d'Antan

The Bonde d’Antan, or "plug of yore", hails from Poitu, on the west coast of France, an area known for fabulous goat cheeses. I suppose it looks like the old-fashioned cork plugs that would have been used for barrels. However, this Bonde is made from pasteurized goats' milk, instead of raw, and I think the difference shows. It's a little bland for my taste, though I suppose if you like your cheeses pasteurized and mellow, it would be just fine.

The texture is nice -- a firm puck with some creaminess in the center. The flavor is mild, but has small hints of salt, goat, and nuts.


A "bonde" is a plug, which strikes me as the perfect cheese equivalent of a pacifier/ dummy/ sucette/ tétine.


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