You may or may not remember that my "real job" is teaching at the University of North Florida. I'm part time there and absolutely love teaching future registered dietitians. I also get exposed to some really cool opportunities that I would not find anywhere else.
One of those opportunities I've had this summer, is to get to know a French exchange student that has been working in our nutrition department on a research project. His name is Matthieu and I've been picking his brain on French culture. My typical questions sound like "Is this true...? Do you really...?" You get the idea.
In July, Matthieu came to my Food Fundamentals Lab (a lab where I teach basic cooking skills) and did a crepe-making demonstration. It was so much fun to learn from him. I thought it would also be fun to share some of his experiences with you. So I asked him if he would write up a little something for FFP and he was happy to do so.
So here's a little bit about what it's really like living, and more specifically eating, in France. Go grab an espresso and a baguette and enjoy! Please leave a comment if there's something you would like me to ask Matthieu.
In France, we begin our day with breakfast comprised of toast with marmelade, coffee or tea and orange juice. After a few hours, it’s snack time. We tend to go for a cereal bar with coffee or tea again (because can you ever really have enough?).
Lunch time is quite the affair with four courses. We start off with an appetizer like salad, raw vegetables or pâté with french baguette and some pickles. The main course is usually meat or fish with either vegetables or french fries on the side, and of course, more bread. Then imagine this. The third course is dedicated entirely to cheeses. Goat cheese and cow cheese are of the most common. We eat the cheese with bread and perhaps a side of salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette, cider vinegar or olive oil. We finish off with dessert which can go anywhere from yogurt, fruit or a delicious pie.
Around 4:00 P.M., children are more than likely in need of a kick of energy. They have a snack like cereal, nutella, a sugar crepe and a glass of milk. The last meal of the day is dinner around 8 or 9 pm and it follows the same meal pattern as lunch.
I have always wanted to come to the US and this summer I found the perfect opportunity to do so. I have been in Jacksonville, Florida for about three months doing an internship in the Nutrition & Dietetics department at the University of North Florida. During this time, I’ve learned a few things about the culture of food in America.
Americans love their breakfast which is a positive aspect of the eating culture here. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes give plenty of of energy to start the morning. My biggest struggle here is the lack of schedule when it comes to eating. In France we have strict meal hours. In America, this is less common so people here end up eating all day.
I’ve noticed Americans don’t dedicate much time to cooking and preparing their own meals. It's a different mentality than what I am used to back home. If I could give the American culture one little piece of French culture advice, I would suggest cooking more.
Get to know Matthieu: Matthieu is a 23 year old student at the University of Poitiers in France majoring in Physiology. He loves the architecture (and of course, the croissants) in France but admires the open-mindedness of the American culture. Matthieu is hoping to improve his knowledge in scientific research through his internship at the University of North Florida.