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Pandemic Forces French To Buy Their Frogs From Vending Machine

Pandemic Forces French To Buy Their Frogs From Vending Machine
Benjamin Witte

You're hungry and restaurants aren't serving because of COVID lockdowns, but at least there are always vending machines. Hmmm? What looks tempting from behind that plexiglass?A Snickers bar or a bag of chips? Or maybe a pair of plastic-wrapped triangle sandwiches and a can of Coke? Otherwise, if you're in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France … ribbit, ribbit?

Yes, frogs (of the dead and edible variety) are now available via vending machines. And we can say "merci" to COVID-19 for this culinary-capitalistic breakthrough.

First thing to know is that the local grenouille are a seasonal delicacy, which are typically available at markets and restaurants in certain French regions for only about a month each year in early spring.

For the Auberge du Château de Vaite in Champlive, near the city of Besançon, a normal frog season can bring in as much as one-third of their annual earnings, proprietor Béatrice Beauquier recently told the local daily L'Est Républican. "Frogs are a historic thing for us," she said. "For a long time now our reputation has been based on them."

They come either ready-to-cook or prepared with cream and wine as a cassolette.

The problem, of course, is that this is anything but a normal year. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, France's countless restaurants are still barred from serving sit-down customers.

While others have turned to Deliveroo, UberEats and other delivery apps, the Château de Vaite restaurant came up with the novel solution of using a vending machine to offer grenouilles-to-go.

L'Est Républicanreports that, starting this weekend, customers can stop by at Château de Vaite (anytime, 24/7!), insert their payment and grab a meal of frogs on the fly. They go for 16 euros ($19) a dozen, and come either ready-to-cook or prepared with cream and wine as a cassolette.

The pandemic has certainly forced French connoisseurs to make fast changes. Snails may be catching up later.

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Geopolitics

The Trumpian Virus Undermining Democracy Is Now Spreading Through South America

Taking inspiration from events in the United States over the past four years, rejection of election results and established state institutions is on the rise in Latin America.

Two supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro dressed in Brazilian flags during a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Bolsonaro supporters dressed in national colours with flags in a demonstration in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on November 4, 2022.

Ivan Abreu / ZUMA
Carlos Ruckauf*

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES — South Africa's Nelson Mandela used to say it was "so easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build."

Intolerance toward those who think differently, even inside the same political space, is corroding the bases of representative democracy, which is the only system we know that allows us to live and grow in freedom, in spite of its flaws.

Recent events in South America and elsewhere are precisely alerting us to that danger. The most explosive example was in Brazil, where a crowd of thousands managed to storm key institutional premises like the presidential palace, parliament and the Supreme Court.

In Peru, the country's Marxist (now former) president, Pedro Castillo, sought to use the armed and security forces to shut down parliament and halt the Supreme Court and state prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations against him.

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