French Eating Habits

So much is written about the French and how they eat a lot but never get fat.  It’s true, you don’t see many overweight French … women at least.  I do see the guy with the beer belly.

Few friends have more than coffee for breakfast.  Maybe a pain du chocolat which is chocolate roll.  And then they have a – at least to me – huge lunch.  Entrée et plat, or plat et desert.  And by plat, I mean what I consider a dinner meal.  Steak. Fish. Big. Heavy.  Sauces.  Yes, you can get a salade but I see the French eating the plat more often.  (And burgers are more often on the menu than in the past.  Burgers have become a gourmet item here.)  And then maybe a snack about 4 when the kids get home from school.  And a big dinner again about 8 or even 9 pm.

Yes, they do walk a lot.  But I think it is more that they don’t snack.  You eat when you are at the table.  And that’s it.  And when you eat that much, your stomach is full!  In fact, for me, uncomfortably full.  Like, I don’t even want chocolate!

I also notice a lack of vegetables compared to the US.  Our steaks are almost always accompanied with potatoes AND veggies.  Here, potatoes are de rigeur.  But not veggies.  It’s a white world.

Yesterday I had a delicious lunch – supreme du poulet.  Chicken breast!  Sauce.  And pasta.  I miss chicken.

At the meal with my French friend at her house with her friends, she served aperitif (asked me what the word was in English – I love it when it’s the same and it surprises them so much!).  Champagne, carrots, dip, raw leek and olives.

The plat was melted cheese- Mont d’Or – a Cantin.  It comes in a wood basket, wine is poured into the center of the cheese, then put in the oven to bake and bubble and get a nice crust.  Then it is served on top of potatoes (HUGE potatoes) with a plate of cold cuts – beef and ham.  And after, a tiny salad.  Then tarts for dessert.  They don’t really make pies here.  But they love tarts.  And everyone finished their plates.

Now that I think about it, it seems like all French are members of the Clean Plate Club.  There’s nothing left.



French for Brolly if you are a Brit and umbrella for the rest of you.  Simon Parapluie on blvd Saint Michel is my favorite umbrella shop.  Since 1897 the Simon family has been selling umbrellas. I take visiting friends here for a cool souvenir. 

I bought a great umbrella there but had a problem with the opening and closing mechanism. They happily repaired it for free.  

So of course when I thought I lost my medium size umbrella (yes I have a XL for big rain storms, a medium for days it is sure to rain and a tiny to carry for an emergency)- When I thought I left it in Lyon, of course I went back to Simon for a replacement. It’s Christmas so their stock was low. I did find one but didn’t like it as much as more has one I lost. Oh well. 

And you know I am in the process of packing?  So guess what I found? Right. The original medium umbrella 

Now this is France. Not well known for customer service. But 38 euros is a nice sum. I went back. Why not give it a try?  They could say no. And maybe in a moment of Christmas spirit they say yes

Delighted to tell you Christmas spirit is alive and  well!  With no hesitation he said bien sur madame.  But certainly!

So more reason to love Simon Parapluie!

You’ll Put Your Eye Out Kid

A Christmas Story happened to me in my foyer yesterday.  I was in a rush to donate 2 sacks of clothes and then to head off to the Marais for lunch with a friend.  Had the sacks in one hand, the sunglasses in the other.  Got to the main door and somehow, while trying to open the door, I poked myself in the eye with the end of my glasses frame.  Actually, it didn’t hurt that much.  But the strange thing was that I poked out Not my Eye, but my contact.  If you have ever had hard lenses, you know how they can pop out.  But I now wear soft lenses.  I have no clue.  Maybe the frame tip pulled it out?  But I definitely couldn’t see well out of that eye.  So back upstairs to figure out if it was really out of my eye or perhaps had slid off the pupil and was hiding in a corner.  After much inspection, I decided it was truly gone.  Put in a new one and was good to go.  But late.

I was proud of myself for knowing where the donation box was – last year I stood with my back to it and searched around.  Hiding in plain sight.  This year I found it quickly.  Stuffed the clothes in and set off for lunch.

When I got back home, I looked one more time but still couldn’t find a spare lens in my eye.  I have on one occasion put a lens on top of another lens.  That’s why you should follow a strict process of put the right one in first, then the left.  That morning, I got confused and put them both in my right eye.  Then I stood in front of the mirror with the empty case wondering where was the lens that went in my left eye?  Took it out and found two.  Haven’t’ done that since.  I do learn from time to time.