One of the most defining aspects of French culture, and a topic we covered in class last year (sigh) and again this year (with the same vocabulary)… food. Luckily, I never wrote an article on the preparation of food itself (I believe), so I do have something to write about, if minimal.
What I did enjoy, though, was the deeper cultural exploration that took place in class, learning about the standards of food and the cultural significance that la nourriture holds over France. Between the exclusivity and symbolism of certain dishes to the prestige restaurants are held over, not to mention the unique environment and ways in which food is prepared and enjoyed (described as an artistry), the stark differences between French cuisine and that of the US are clear.
I would normally say that I have a slightly more developed palate, but considering French food, I think I’d pass on (in my mind) bizarre dishes like escargot and settle for something more comforting, like a nice, calcium-heavy croque monsieur.
The shopping experience is quite different too- when my younger sister took a trip to Paris, she was quick to notice the variety of shops designated to specific food types, compared to the supermarket-style setting that exists in the US. Between the bakeries (la boulangerie), unique cafés, and markets, it was clear food was held to high appreciation.
Nothing, of course, beat the feeling of walking out of a bakery with a fresh, warm baguette.
Shopping For Food
To help you better understand the main food shops in France, I put together this graphic:
To summarize, cheese (le fromage) is purchased at la fromagerie, while milk (du lait) and other dairy goods are purchased at la crémerie. Meat (la viande) is purchased at la boucherie, while deli slices of meat can be purchased at la delicatessen. Bread (du pain) and other baked goods can be bought at la boulangerie, whereas sweeter goods like cakes (les gateaux) can be bought at la patisserie. Fish (du poisson) and other seafood (les fruits de mer) can be bought at la poissonerie, and common grocery goods ranging from canned fruits to fruits and vegetables like broccoli (le brocoli) can be bought at l’épicerie (f.).
Images within ©Apple
A few other useful vocabulary words:
Un morceau- a piece
Un paquet- a package
Un pot- a jar
Images within ©Apple
Of course, there are endless actions that can take place in the kitchen, and these are just a few. I hope, overall, this was helpful in navigating the incredibly broad and varied cuisine of French culture.
Thanks for reading!
For food type vocabulary, you can refer to this study set: