ENGLISH VS. FRENCH
There are so many differences between English and French eating habits and it’s only right to share my knowledge and experiences with the world. Here are the facts…
- Bread, cheese and wine: it is not a stereotype, it is fact, that French people loooove these three things, especially together. It is not rare (and I don’t even notice it anymore) when someone walks down the street with a few baguettes in hand. You gotta get your bread somehow, right?
- It’s tradition to eat wine with every meal: although I try to avoid this one so I’m not drunk 24/7, the French tend to eat wine with lunch and dinner, and it’s normally just one or two glasses.
- They eat cheese every day: there are dedicated cheese shops everywhere you go, and there’s a reason for that; the French eat a hell of a lot of cheese. Whenever you ask someone if they eat it every day, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy and say ‘of course, why wouldn’t I?’. Also, I was watching an awful French game show this morning (Les Z’Amours) and it’s a program where couples have to answer questions about their other half. One of the questions is ‘what’s their favourite cheese?’ – mines is Saint-Nectaire by the way.
- The French eat a lot at lunch and little at night: the French tend to have big lunches instead of big dinners like in Britain. For example, the kids at school can have anywhere from an hour and a half to four hours for lunch! Yes, four! For workers, they tend to get around two hours every day for lunch. Also, a lot of shops shut for two to four or even five hours during lunch hours. I’ve found that now it’s getting in to summer, shops are shut for longer during the day. They also like to have a few courses for lunch. Once when I was at Ikea in Aix, everyone had their starter, main course and cheese plate ready. Yes, Ikea sells cheese plates in France.
- Sunday lunch instead of Sunday dinner: in Britain, we tend to have a big family meal at dinner time on a Sunday – the ‘Sunday roast’. But in France, the most important meal of the day is lunch and therefore Sunday lunch is a big deal. Whenever I have lunch at a French person’s house, it usually lasts three or four hours. By the end, everyone needs a nap after all the good wine and food we’ve consumed.
- Apéro: an aperitif is a huge deal in France. Again, if I eat at a French person’s house, we tend to have one or two glasses of hard alcohol before the starter to cleanse the tastebuds. Normally if you eat out at a restaurant, you go to a bar before and have one or two aperitif’s and some tapenade or olives (in the South anyway). The main thing I will miss when I return to Scotland is aperitifs.
- The French eat dinner later: people don’t tend to eat until a lot later in France. An apéro can start anywhere between 5pm-8pm and dinner starts after. Sometimes we won’t start eating until 9pm or 10pm and it doesn’t really matter if you’re having a nice drink and a chat. I went to a French person’s house on Friday night and we were in the pool until 9pm and then relaxed and slowly ate dinner, and we finished eating at around 1am. I no longer understand how some people eat at 6pm, it’s waaaay too early for us Frenchies…
- Breakfast: in Britain, it’s hard to generalise breakfast foods. However, we occasionally all enjoy a fry-up or a sausage roll for breakfast. The thought of having savoury for breakfast is ridiculous to a French person. Breakfast is always sweet in France, wether it be a croissant, a pain au chocolat or a bowl of sweet cereal.
This is part of a new series of mine. I will be talking about a subject from A-Z twice a week.
L: Leaving Aix