by Jacqui Brown
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!
Read more about Jacqui's life in France at The French Village Diaries