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[Trivia]Marie Antoinette

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Steve, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Most of you know that the phrase "Let them eat cake" is a rather dismissive phrase, used to indicate the speaker's unconcern for whoever "they" may be.

    But that's not the original meaning. :)

    Who knows the context of Marie's (in)famous words and, for bonus points, why is the correct context even worse than how we use it, today?
  2. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    The legend goes that it was in reference to pheasants that had no bread. However, no one has been able to actually tie that phrase to Antoinette, even though it's been attributed to her for years.

    (wow....google is good) :)
  3. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    So close, and yet so far.....:)
  4. Piobaireachd

    Piobaireachd Full Member

    "cake" was what formed when ashes from the coal and wood fires mixed with rain or dew. If formed a "cake" like substance.

    When she said "let them eat cake" she was talking about this type of cake.

    This is the version that I'm familiar with.
  5. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    I've never heard that one; it's good but not what I was thinking of.

    Hint: Rich versus poor ;)
  6. Arc

    Arc Full Member

    I forget the French name for it but when baked goods were made back during the time of the French Revolution the utensils they were baked in and the oven too were coated with a flour/baked concoction to prevent sticking of the product. It was kind like a daily teflon coating substitute.

    At the end of the day the ovens and pans were scraped of this stuff and then placed outside for the poor to take and eat as they had no money to buy regular baked goods of which of course bread was the staple.

    The stuff I am talking about was referred to as "cake." So the let them eat cake was directed to those who were so poor they were little more than beggars.
  7. Piobaireachd

    Piobaireachd Full Member

    I've heard that one too. It was "Brioche".
  8. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Those are good, I've never heard of them, either.

    The way I heard the tale was that Marie Antoinette simply couldn't understand the problem, didn't relate to the starvation of poor people. To her, if bread wasn't available, there was always cake.

    Hence, her dismissive "let them eat cake", as if they had any in the first place.
  9. ravital

    ravital Banned

    Not that I feel any urge to defend a dead queen :) but according to this article, the quote was entirely fabricated:

    In an effort to further harm her reputation, the false story was circulated that, upon hearing that the poor of France were unable to purchase even moldy bread, she said "Let them eat cake!", which quickly became a famous non-quotation. The phrase is in full "S'ils n'ont pas de pain, qu'ils mangent de la brioche" and was invented or quoted by Rousseau some years before Marie Antoinette came to power.
    [Emphasis mine]
    She had made alot of enemies who thought nothing of inventing stuff about her.

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