My Ode to French Cuisine

13 December 2019

It's been nearly six months since I returned to United States soil after spending thirty days in my favorite place on Earth. What more can I say about France? Nothing I could ever write would be able to do justice to how I feel when I think about my time in France.

I look back on the little things: my commute on the tram to the university, listening to my host family speak rapid French that I could only grasp parcels of, ordering a chocolat chaud at a café by myself without having to revert to English. I miss the museums, spending hot afternoons sprawled out in the grass of the jardin, walking aimlessly down the streets. But most of all, I miss the food! 

I already paid a small homage to my gastronomical experiences in my first post about my impressions of France. However, there is so much more to say about all the delicious food I got to try while I was abroad.

I kept a bit of a photo journal on my phone of all my favorite dishes because I somehow knew I would want to make myself hungry by looking back on all the yummy things I got to try. I have been doing just that for the several months, wishing for another taste of my favorite French plats

There's something special about the way the French do food. They take such care in the way they prepare and create the dishes they serve. Food is a science and an art form that is to be respected, and that is why France is known as one of the culinary capitals of the world.

Everything is so fresh! Produce often comes from open air markets, and are only sold when in peak season. Even the everyday dinners I would eat with my host family were always well thought out and exceptionally delicious!

I can't talk about French food, though, without talking about the ice cream and the baked goods. I'm probably annoying since I'm always raving about European ice cream and pastries. But if you've never had the chance to try it for yourself it is totally worth it to make a trip solely to tour every pâtisserie and glacier in France to try almond croissants and vanilla ice cream.

Another staple of French life are the cafés. I am not historically a big fan of coffee, but the tiny shots of café au lait they served was something I was surprised to find I loved. Another seasonal special I adored were panachés, a mixture of beer and lemonade that was so refreshing on a hot afternoon in the summer time.

I am a huge fan of café culture anywhere, but especially in France. There is no rush or sense of time passing when you're in a café. I could sit at the same table for hours by myself, reading or working on homework and be completely content. When I retire, I want to spend everyday in a French café. 

On our final evening in France, we got to go to the fanciest and Frenchiest restaurant I have ever been to. After lunch, all the restaurants in France close down until dinner which starts promptly at 7 p.m. When you get a table for dinner it is yours for the rest of the night.

It's about community and having a nice meal with family and friends, not about rushing to get as many people in and out in a night.We sat, talked, and ate a three course meal for hours, but the time didn't seem to pass at all. It wasn't until 10:30 that we began to say our goodbyes and head home for the night. It was perfect.

Now that I've been back in the United States for awhile, I can't think back on France without thinking about the food. I side eye my Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook all the time, telling myself that one day I will learn to cook as the French do. But I know deep down I will never be able to do it justice.

French food is beyond just the cooking and the knowledge of food, it's the culture and the heart about it that makes it French. And that's something I'll never be able to duplicate.


i. Crêpe du Nutella et un chocolat chaud
ii. Pintade (guinea-fowl) et gratin dauphinois (regional potato dish)
iii. Une galette (savory crêpe) avec du poulet, des champignons, et une sauce délicieuse
iv. De la glace (ice cream, the love of my life)
v. Un plat de la charcuterie (cold meats) avec une petite salade, des pommes de terre, et du fromage fondu (amazing melted cheese!)

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