I, like many others, believed, in the 80s and 90s, that the british NHS was "the envy of the world". That is, until someone took a hard look at numbers like cancer recovery rates, 5-year survival probabilities from heart attack, etc., and compared them with figures from the USA and elsewhere.
The french similarly have a firm conviction that their cuisine is the best in the world, a perception that does not stand up to my experiences in England and abroad. During our recent trip to Boston, we ate out for most of our meals, and every one was, without exception, excellent, good value, and big.
Even the straightforward unpretentious 50s style diner (a breakfast and a lunch) served well-spiced potato fries, crisp bacon, and a cheese omelette done to perfection, with unlimited coffee. (The french and most other nations have it over the americans for coffee. US coffee is almost all dreadful outside of the specialist shops)
And I am convinced that no-one does steak like the americans. You get a slab of meat of your choice, cooked to perfection according to your specification, spiced and seasoned appropriately, and tender. Compared to this, the average french offering is, well, average. I have never had a steak in France, in all my recent time here, as good as any of those I had in the USA.
There is some snobbery, to be sure. I think perhaps that the perception is that quality is incompatible with quantity. So in France you might get a couple of prawns on a plate, scattered about with some decorative garden weeds, and a bit of sauce on top or dotted artfully around the vacant areas of plate. It all looks very fancy. In the states you get an enormous heap of prawns that taste just as good or better, with the sauce in a separate dish since there is no room for it on the plate. This huge plate of delicious nachos in the picture was a starter....
I wonder if reality will arive at some point. The french are wondering why their "best-in-the-world" wine is not selling well outside of their borders. Perhaps when the tourism starts dropping off on account of the food, people will take notice.