France isn’t known for its subtlety so it’s not really a surprise to come across some food items that make you wince slightly.

I’ve blogged about Banania before. This chocolatey drink is an institution in France, although it’s slowly losing its place on the supermarket shelves. I’m positive that a new image would do wonders for its sales. I only bought my first packet for blogging purposes. I’d avoided it like the plague up to till then because of the cringey packaging. Let’s be honest, it’s not a flattering portrayal of a little African boy, is it? It’s long been the source of controversy, with accusations of racism and colonialism being aimed at the manufacturers. I’d rather see a photo or graphic of some smiling modern-day kids from different ethnic backgrounds, or just a bowlful of the product. Let’s hope common sense will prevail soon.

On the left in the photo is a packet of biscuits called ‘cigarettes’. This looks like a good way to get kids smoking! Cigarette biscuits, or Russian cigarettes as they’re also known, are very tasty, all crunchy and almondy. They’re often served with ice-cream. A couple of breakfast cereal manufacturers have broadened the idea a bit to produce chocolate-lined cigarettes like these for kids to slurp their morning milk up through. They’re a nice product, but a really naff name. And they don’t look particularly like cigarettes anyway.

And finally for today (I’m pretty sure I shall return to politically incorrect food as an occasional blog subject), a jar of Bonne Maman jam. Bonne Maman literally means ‘good mummy’, but the Bonne Maman US site says it translates as ‘granny’. I’m sure there’s a subliminal message there that you’re only a good mummy or ‘granny’ if you make yummy jam! I imagined this name to go back into the mists of time, which would explain its tweeness, but in fact it only dates from 1971 although the manufacturers, Andros, had been producing the jam since the Second World War. Bonne Maman now accounts for 35% of the French jam and preserves market. I can see why, it is utterly delicious jam and comes in a fantastic array of flavours. So it’s a real success story, despite an offputting name. (And for the record, I do make my own jam too, but with varying degrees of success!)