Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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La Vache Mystérieuse
My Parisian mother-in-law (now dead) once told me that during WWII the makers of La Vache Qui Rit changed the name of their cheese spread to La Vache Sérieuse and made the cow on the packet look gloomy, as a kind of protest against the Occupation. I really wanted this to be true, but it always seemed unlikely, and now, on finally looking into the matter, it seems my instincts were right - at least, in so far as my terrible French will let me read this newspaper.

I suppose I'll never know whether my mother-in-law was kidding me, or perhaps someone kidded her when she was a child, or whether she misremembered, or whether I have. But I offer it to the annals of cheese-spread-related social history.

I had never heard that story. The truth, that it was a piece of commercial rivalry, is less dramatic.

I liked, but am not sure whether to believe, the explanation of the name: that the drawing of the cow came first, and they couldn't think what to call it until the boss's wife saw the sheet music for 'The Ride of the Valkyries' and that 'valkyrie = vache qui rit'...

The 'Valkyrie' explanation is the one the company itself always uses, so who knows? :o)

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