Being a French Foodie

I will admit that the wine and food of France (especially the cheese and boulangerie fresh croissants, baguettes and gateaux) helped us to make our decision to move here. However, after nearly 7 years of living the dream, here are my top 10 reasons why I will never be a true French foodie. You will notice if you read on that this has absolutely nothing to do with being bored of either wine, cheese or the croissants!

1)Breakfast - a typical French breakfast is quite small; a bowl of coffee served with a buttered baguette and jam or a croissant. Now I LOVE the croissant, it is delicious, especially from our boulangerie 2 doors away, but I prefer my breakfast to be a little bit more substantial. I am not talking about the English fry-up, which does nothing for me, but a steamy bowl of porridge when it’s cold or shredded wheat with fresh fruit when it’s not, just perfect - I’m a fibre girl!

2)Chocolate Cereal - the French are starting to ‘get’ cereal but it is very difficult to buy cereal that doesn’t have chocolate added - again, I LOVE chocolate, but not for breakfast.

3)Coffee Bowl Bread - I will never, ever, be able to dunk my baguette into a ‘bowl’ of coffee - a breakfast ritual for the French. Coffee, in my opinion, is best served small and black and the only thing I dunk in it is a square of 70% dark chocolate. This is a mid morning ritual for me.

4)The Daily Bread - much as I love the freshly baked white baguettes and pains I just can’t eat them with every meal, every day - like I say I’m a fibre girl and therefore am also the proud owner of a bread machine that is used regularly to produce delicious wholemeal or seeded loaves.

5)The Cooked Lunch - French families regularly return home at lunch time for a full 2 or 3 course cooked meal - how they are organised enough to have a cooked meal ready for 12.00 is beyond me. Cooked lunch here is a soup!

6)Tripe and Andouillette - both are considered speciality or delicacy dishes here. As much as I like the idea of not wasting anything from an animal killed for food, my delicate tum will not permit me to eat either of these!

7)Late Night Eating - following the large lunchtime meal the French will eat again, but quite late in the evening. No matter how large the lunch I’ve managed to rustle up I need to eat before 8 o’clock a) as I’m hungry and b) because after then it’s just too late to eat!

8)The Starter - most if not all French main meals will be 2 or 3 small courses. Whilst I think this is a great idea I find it really difficult to coordinate a meal with a starter; there is either an enormous gap between starter and main or the main has ruined while we eat the starter.

9)Marmite - you either love it or hate it, or, if you’re French you just don’t get it - I LOVE it!

10)I’m English - the very fact that I’m not French means that even if I manage to prepare, cook and serve it like they would at the correct time of day it would never truly be considered French!

C’est la vie et bon apetit!

Thanks Helen. I have noticed when we are out Ed always has the bread like the French would so I am now feeling a bit bad he doesn’t get offered it at home, but, if any son of mine started the dunking at breakfast…

Great post Jacqueline - you have really hit the nail on head here - there is a fundamental difference in the way we British eat compared to the French, and never the twain shall meet!
It’s interesting to see how the younger British children behave though - in our family my nephews and daughter have really adopted the French way of eating - including the dunking thing at breakfast. Most importantly my 6 year old nephew always takes a piece of baguette on his plate when he eats at the all you can eat local Chinese restaurant. Bless!

the swiss have something calles CENOVIS comes in a tube and it is the same as marmite but our marmite jar is so pretty.I have a fantastic collection of marmite jars from all over english speaking countries where they all make their own recipe.and my son sam who works just behind the champs elysée says there is a bar where you can have marmite sandwichs as there are 2 english real estate offices in that street.My son eats marmite every breakfast on toast and he is almost 100% french.but I don’t know any other french person who likes it

Eric, someone has just told me this; it is like Viandox or Maggi, as it is quite similar but not in liquid form. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the comments Jane, always nice to make someone smile - we did get into a habit of eating croissants for breakfast when we first arrived, soon had to diet and head back to the shredded wheat!
Eric - this is a tough one, how to explain Marmite? It is a savoury spreadable product, dark brown in colour and made of yeast so a fantastic source of B vitamins. It has quite a salty taste, is almost ‘meaty’ but is vegetarian! Often eaten on toast, but can be diluted in hot water and drunk or used as stock. If you are unwell (or stranded on a desert island) you can live just on Marmite. Do you have any English neighbours Eric, they may have some for you to try? Anyone else make a better job of describing Marmite?

Hi everybody,

I’m French, and have read this post with absolute delight. There is one point I really don’t get:
What do you call Marmitte, please enlighten me on that…
As for Tripes and andouillettes, you’re missing something fantastic!!

A bientôt

you did make me smile with what you said above about the french breakfast etc.After living here for over 45 years I have never seen any of me friends or family eat croissant for breakfast.The cereal eaters are usually children and nearly all of my friends have tea in the morning …ok without milk.They eat toast or biscottes and yoghurt and maybe fruit juice.I have never known anybody in Paris who returns home for lunch that happens only en province.Most people here have ticket de restaurant or have a canteen or my 4 children eat a sandwich for lunch.Soup was eaten a lot when I was younger in Paris but now they tend to eat their main meal in the evening around 8pm but dodn’t forget that the “gouter” around 4.30pm does help from being too hungry

Steve you are lucky. Our boulangerie is fantastic, (village of about 350) but the only ‘brown’ they do is on a pre-order only basis at Christmas when they do their Walnut loaf! Cereal wise I’m fussy and really do prefer porridge and Shredded wheat minis! I can buy porridge oats, but only in small boxes and rather pricey and can’t get shredded wheat minis anywhere! I have been known to buy Weetabix every now and then!

Can’t agree with your points 2 and 4. Finding cereal without chocolate isn’t a problem at all. As for a choice of breads, even our village bakery (population of village is 750) offer 3 different types of baguette, wholemeal + other rustic style loaves and probably 6 more differently shaped white loaves.If I go nearest town, there are 4 or 5 bakers offering a wide range. But saying this we do have a bread machine and use it when we want decent sized loaves for sandwiches.

Marmite - excellent for teaching school kids the difference between ‘I like…’ and ‘I don’t like…’ :slight_smile:

Seriously good expat game though - this is Marmite, we love it, would you like to try it?

Marmite! Every french friend we introduce it to, just doesn’t get it! You are so right!