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English for Japanese saying "Dumplings rather than blossoms"

Posted by Sorrydaijin on August 08, 2000

In Reply to: Rattle His Chains posted by Tina on August 07, 2000

First, I must apologize for using this thread, but the main page cuts out before it gets to the posting section.
I am translating a Japanese book and it has this phrase "dumplings rather than blossoms" refering to France being forced out of necessity to comply with the financial policy of Deutsche Bundesbank (The German central bank). The biggest, meanest dictionary I had came up with the poor effort of "bread is better than the song of birds".
Can anyone help me think of a better saying, preferably not something that some guy just decided to make up to suit his translating needs -I already tried that and the author of the book wasn't impressed.
Even if you can't help me I would appreciate it if you could let me know of any links that may be useful.

Thanks in advance.