The French Food Culture

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Is French food culture more health promoting than American food culture? In this blog, I go over the pros and cons of each. The image you see above is a typical pre-meal snack better known as the aperative. This happens around the time us Americans are eating dinner. This is a social time in which people gather around a small plate, glasses of wine, and enjoy socialising. I have come to very much enjoy this pre-game dinner time while I am in France. This brings up my first point, the French take a lot of time to each and they don’t eat a lot at a time. Although the majority of what French eat isn’t necessarily health promoting, they way they eat is. As Americans we are notorious for our “eat on the run” mentality. It took me while to adjust to the slow pace eating with the French due to the distorted thinking that meals should be quick and efficient. Fast food is not even as close as popular in France as it is in the US (quite frankly no where else in the world is). The concept just doesn’t line up with the French values.

Eating out in general is less of an occurrence in France. Because there are restaurants around every corner in the US, we tend to eat out more often. The French cook at home more often than not. The French take pride in their cooking abilities because it is more valued there than in the US. Cooking a delicious meal and enjoying it with friends is much more appreciated than eating a quick meal out. Not to mention the servers in France aren’t the most delightful. Because tips aren’t involved, there is no real incentive to play kiss ass with the customers. Studies have shown that when food is made at home, food choices improve. Arrogance is bliss when buying a croissant but its hard not to think twice when you’re adding the better and sugar yourself.

Overall I believe the French have a better relationship with their food. That may sound cheesy but that is something that Americans really struggle with. Don’t get me wrong, all cultures in some way use food as an emotional tool to escape hardship and loneliness, but were the worst. We eat alone too often. We eat out too often. We don’t value the importance of eating together as much as we did in generations past. Working less and taking more time to eat, play, and love is frowned upon in our culture. We are becoming disconnected with what food should be. Food is connection not separation. We can learn from every other nation that is skinner than us (which is all of them, except for Mexico now). We are fat and of course what we eat matters, but how we eat could be just as important.

Jesse Rich