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.

 

Cluck Cluck Smog

No, the subjects are not related but it is to make sure I address both topics.

Cluck Cluck.  I like chicken.  For supper.  Unfortunately for them, as the entrée, not as a guest. Or that would be Le Plat here in France – entrée means the Starter.  Like the entrance to the dinner.  I wonder how that got changed in English….

Why not a chicken as a friend or pet?  I have been told that at the young and impressionable age of 3 I was chased about the yard by angry chickens.  For some odd reason my mother had decided to try raising chickens.  I don’t think they lasted long after attacking me…  My brother raises chickens (well, he lives on a farm) and so does my friend Leslie (who lives in Elk Grove so why?).  Not me.  I was scarred for life.

In France, you will discover that chicken or poulet is not often on the menu.  In spite of the fact that Henri IV promised a chicken in every pot.  (He really did!)  A friend, French, was puzzled when I told her that (not about Henri IV, about chickens not on the menu)– and then reflected that indeed it was not on every menu.  I look for Supreme du poulet – Chicken breast!

Since 2001 until I moved here in 2015 I was a limited –or is that unlimited? Vegetarian.  That means I ate mostly tofu, beans, nuts, and all the regular veggie stuff plus chicken and some fish.  I rarely ate pork and never beef.  Not for any special philosophical reason.  I went through the attunement for the Reiki Master level and just spontaneously stopped eating red meat.

I survived all my trips to France without problems.  But when I knew I was moving here for a longer period of time, I decided I would have to return to beef.  But I am not including mussels! Yuck… Or snails…  Just not that French!  I was a bit concerned that reintroducing beef to my system might have a negative result.  But nope.  Just decided it was tasty again.  And when I was back in the US in early 2016, one of my first stops was In’N’Out Burger…    Californians will understand.

Why a paean to chicken?  Because yesterday I discovered frozen chicken in my fridge.  It’s a tiny fridge but things can get lost behind boxes of frozen vegetables or Picard desserts.  I cooked it up and yum.  Or as they say here, miam miam.  Tasty.

And now Smog.

La pollution sits over the City of Light.  And it looks like Los Angeles did years ago – but not as bad as Beijing.  Still cars are limited by license plate even or odd and all public transportation is free.  If you use a Navigo monthly pass as I do that doesn’t mean much.  But it’s a good effort by the city.

And by the way, isn’t it just irritating when you are about 6 paragraphs into the best, wittiest, most clever blog you have ever written and Word crashes WITHOUT auto saving?

I am curious as to my recent revival of blogging.  Maybe it’s the cold weather? It’s not a bad deal to sit at the computer with the electric wall heater pumping out comfort.

I think it will help me do my monthly bill paying exercise.  While I listen to my Christmas music on the iPod.  (Strange to walk through the Marches du Noel with American Christmas songs blasting through their speakers.)

Off to the bills.