To neglect to write about such a delicate and compulsory part of French culture would be most terrible. Thus, i have decided to add at least one blog post (hopefully more than one) about french cuisine, for many reasons: first, it seemed fitting considering my internship in gastronomy, and secondly, because french food is so integral to the way french people live, work, and think. Most may think i exaggerate, but in fact, cuisine is an art in France. Most people who live in my neighborhood (I live near Parc Citroen in the 15th) go to the grocery store every day to buy fresh produce because they don’t believe in using old things (as in, a day old). Moreover, my host mother stops at the boulangerie/patisserie every morning to buy bread and often pastries as well (a traditional custom in France). This example is something very rudimentary in France; it is almost if people do not think twice about it. It becomes a question of quality for the French.
That being said, the woman with whom i do my internship worships food on an entirely different level. She lives in the Bastille area of Paris and has a local poissonierie, fromagerie, charcuterie, on whom she depends for her daily and weekly needs. It is true that in school, we learn these words and the textbooks make one think all french people do this; in reality, with the invention of Carrefour, Monoprix, and Franprix in Paris, most Parisians no longer take the time to shop for meat, cheese, and fish separately from their other grocery items.
Nonetheless, it is a common site to see French people take time to look at each piece of produce they purchase, even down to the last strawberry. They pay attention to detail and make sure what they’re purchasing is of the best possible quality.
This article is not meant to delve into the world of french gastronomy; i simply wrote this small introduction as means to illustrate one thing: the French take their food pretty seriously. I could sit and write article after article concerning this world that is often so foreign to Americans (the 3 hour dinners, tasting 20 types of olive oil and pairing them with dishes, tasting only a small portion of the over 200 types of chesse in France, etc.) I think it is evident that i have fallen in love with this part of French culture. I think even growing up in a household which cooked a lot and enjoyed food, i was incredibly surprised at the passion French people have for their food. It makes me think Americans should some day adopt such a fantastic passion; it is certainly inspiring on many levels.