One of the foremost elements of French culture is food. Local French produce and harvest speak volume about the love that the French hold in their hearts for food. However, the nation’s love for food is not limited to quality produce and is also evident in its set French eating habits. The French are very particular about their eating habits and do not tend to deviate from them. The usual French breakfast is minimal but lunch is extensive. Dinner also consists of smaller portions. The French are punctual even when it comes to food, there are set meal times, so it is very rare to spot people eating out of the designated hours.
French Eating Habits
Stick to three meals a day
The French do not eat all day long; instead, they stick to three meals a day. They do not believe in munching snacks or eating in portions, but when the lunch and dinner hours strike, they do not hold back and feast like kings.
The French believe that being hungry makes the eating experience more pleasurable and wholesome, so they avoid nibbling on snacks in order to be hungry at meal hours. In addition, preventing yourself from straying will definitely pay off because the French have generous and lavish portions at lunch and dinner. A three-course meal is mandatory; this typically would mean starting with the salad, followed by a main course, which usually includes a mix of proteins and vegetables. Since the French are cheese lovers, the third course usually comprises of cheese and like many others, the French love to end their meals on a sweet note.
Eat at the table
The French are not multitaskers, you will never spot them eating while walking, talking, driving or shopping. Therefore, in France you will find no place to sit at a restaurant at peak eating hours as the French prefer eating while seated at a table. It is because of this very eating habit that there is no concept of takeaway in France. For instance in the United States, pizza parlors are never without a takeaway counter; however, pizzerias in France are customarily without one. At dinnertime, French families get together to dine at the dinner table. The French do not like eating in front of the television or their computer screens.
South France is famous for its vineyards and wineries but the French are hardly ever seen having drinks with their food. As one of the most striking feature of French eating habits, they choose water over sodas and alcoholic beverages. Even if they choose to have wine, it is limited to a sip or two, just to clear the palate before a hefty meal. French restaurant kitchens close down at seven, as the dinner shift ends at six in the evening. This means no midnight snacks. Once the kitchen is closed, it remains closed till it opens early in the morning for breakfast.
Discuss about the food
Speaking of French eating habits, the French love for food is not limited to enjoying a good meal, but also delving into a conversation about the food they eat. In France, children and adults alike love to talk about food, their discussions includes remarking on their favorite ingredients, eating places and quality local produce.
Common Foods That the French Eat
As mentioned earlier, the main course at a French dinner or lunch table centers around meat. The French are fond of both red and white meat. This is also because France produces some of the best quality beef, pork and poultry in the world. The French prefer buying their meat from a butcher instead of purchasing it from supermarkets, as they are particular about getting fresh and clean meat cuts. This way they can also get the meat cuts of their own choice. French meat cuisine also incorporates animal innards and organs; for example, chicken gizzards and duck liver pate are some of the most famous traditional French dishes.
Vegetables form an essential part of French cuisine. Typically, the vegetables are not incorporated into the dishes and are instead grilled or steamed and served as a side dish. The varieties of vegetables produced in France are overwhelming and the French take pride in their homegrown products; they are usually seen picking out the most ripe and fresh vegetables at the local farmers market.
The third course of a French meal is usually the cheese course. France is known to produce over 500 different kinds of cheese and every region in France has its own special cheese. For example, in exotic Burgundy, you are likely to enjoy Epoisses, one of the most premium quality cheeses. Therefore, in most traditional French recipes, cheese is the primary ingredient.
Most people find the stereotype that baguettes are the most common sight in France extremely accurate. Baguettes are typically a part of all the three meals in France. At breakfast, they are sliced like a loaf and eaten with butter and jam and are used as a dinner roll with the main course. The French like their baguettes soft and moist in the center and enjoy a crispy crust. There are many types of breads found in France, including cheese and milk breads as well as breads with nuts and kernels.
French markets are dotted with patisseries and confectionaries. Traditional French desserts include éclairs that are filled with cream and glazed with chocolate. Most French desserts also feature fruits that are grown locally, such as apple tarts and cherry flan cakes. However, the French buy these desserts at special occasions and usually opt for a fruit salad on a regular day.