Most of my days here are spent preparing food for the groups, so I thought I would inform you about the food in France. In France, food is not just something that provides nourishment, but an experience. Over the last few weeks, I have spent my time learning the art of french cooking and the rituals that are involved in mealtime. The experience of food is beyond simply the taste of a dish, it is wrapped in presentation, order, relationship of the courses, and of equal importance, the people with whom the meal is being shared. A good meal involves lots of conversation and time to linger in the experience. When there are groups present, I spend a large portion of the day in the preparation of this meal experience. I will attempt to share with you some of my observations and typical mealtime rituals.
The place where it all goes down.
Breakfast requires the least amount of preparation, because simply put it is BREAD! Yep, the only thing to eat for breakfast is bread and lots of it. Then, there is the beverage choice: Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate. And there you have a typical french breakfast.
Isn't that just glorious?
(12 - 2PM)
Students are let out of school and companies allow their employees two hours to experience the most important meal of the day. Lunch begins with some sort of salad (examples: slivers of carrots in vinaigrette dressing, mixed vegetables and mayonnaise, shredded celery and vinaigrette, to name a few). Then the main course, usually a meat and starch. Examples are beef and boiled potatoes, burgundy beef, lasagna in a cream sauce, and chicken cordon bleu and rice. Bread is served with the main course and with the cheese tray that follows the main course. The cheese tray is a display of various degrees of cheese potency. The last course is the dessert, which consists of apple tarts, creme brulee, and other delicious creations.
Includes an assortment of cookies, along with coffee and tea.
(typically btw. 7 - 8PM)
Dinner is the lighter meal. An example would be soup and quiche with salad and a basket of fruit for dessert. The meal is always followed up with a round of coffee and tea.
La Tartiflette (potatoes, bacon, cream, cream, cream and reblochen cheese) - another evening meal
This food ritual pretty much consumes (no pun intended) most of my day. The rest of the time is spent cleaning, doing laundry, shopping for food, or other random activities. Most days I get a little afternoon break, which I use for Siesta (wrong country but I enjoy the practice), bike riding, reading, or catching up on email. I've been joking that it feels like I'm in the movie "Groundhog Day" because most days are exactly the same. I hope you've enjoyed this little lesson on French cuisine.