Indulging in French life, culture, cuisine

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

Jessica MacIntosh

When one thinks of France, one usually associates the country with food.

It starts with the cuisine in France. When I first arrived, my host family, who is from Paris, served me so much food for lunch it was not even funny.

First it was a salad of tomatoes and cucumbers mixed with olive oil and spices. Then, the food kept on coming from there. After the salad, I had some chicken with tomatoes. My host mother keeps a garden of various vegetables, including tomatoes. Following that, they served cheese, which is the obvious food in France. By the time I was served the fruit and yogurt for dessert, I was about ready to be sick.

The first four days I stayed with my host family, I had beaucoup de food, to the point when I moved into my dorm room in Orleans I could not eat anymore.

I learned the people in France eat day in and day out. It does not compare to how the Americans eat. The French have a late breakfast; sometimes they have chocolate. For the Americans, that would be a sin.

Candy is not usually eaten for breakfast. When the French have lunch, they eat late in the day, and it is the same for when they eat dinner. I had dinner at 11 p.m. every night I was with my host family.

It became different when I started living in the dorms. Not only could I not eat a full meal, I just lived off bread and Nutella for the first few days. Nutella, a delicacy popular in France, is actually an Italian product. I remember when my mother bought me some Nutella in the states; it was the tiniest bottle ever. Here in France, the bottle is huge. I have been here since September, and now it is October. My bottle of Nutella is not even half full.

I had to get used to buying food every day from the grocery store. The baguettes I bought could only be eaten within a couple days. I tried putting them in the refrigerator; that did not work. Plus, the baguettes are meant to serve more than one person. I could finish at least half of the bread, but I would end up throwing away the rest, because they dry out quickly. I do admit one important thing: When I am extremely hungry, I can finish the whole thing in one sitting.

Speaking of the refrigerators in the dorms, I hate them. On one Sunday, when all the stores in France are closed, I went to grab some food to eat, and it was frozen. I had such a bad day. I called my parents that day, and they just laughed at me. It was funny when you think about it now, but the day it happened it was not. For dinner, I ended up having chocolate and Coca-Cola.

Not healthy.

Now, I am used to the food here, and I love it. The university food is another story unto itself. When you receive the chance to come to France, don’t go for just the sites, go for the food.

Jessica MacIntosh is a foreign correspondent for The Chart. Her opinions are her own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Chart staff.