Eating Together


Long Meals Spent With Good Company

Eating is an art form in France. Especially when you have company. You don't just sit down for 30 minutes, shove down food, and get on with your activities. You spend time. I've sat down for a meal that lasted four hours long! And yes we were eating all throughout this time. So what does a typical French gathering over food look like? Well let me elaborate.

Eating in France sometimes feels like running a marathon. You have to pace yourself and it lasts a really long time. A good enough reason for a gathering could just be five people getting together to catch up. All of my experiences have been with family, some I don't even know how I am related to them. It starts off with the aperitif, snacks that can be crackers for something  simple, or baked little appetizers for something more formal. They are always good and I could easily fill up on them, but I need to pace myself. With the snacks is the alcohol. Usually wines that are best served to start off the palette. Another popular alcohol here is rum. I don't know why, but I've seen a lot of rum. These appetizers are usually served at a table where everyone can talk. Some serve it outside then bring the lunch or dinner inside. Sometimes its all at the same table. Either way, conversation is always flowing over a table. 

I'm hoping that someone picked up on the fact that I mentioned lunch or dinner. Yes in France it is common to invite people for lunch and eat a lot. The truth is that lunch is a more important meal than dinner. Those who are stuck at the office don't get to practice this as much as they want, but they truly do eat more at lunch than they do at dinner, unless you're invited for dinner, then don't plan to leave before midnight.

Then comes the first course. Sometimes it's paté. Sometimes it's fish. Either way you start to think this is it. There's only salad left. Well you will be left mistaken. This course usually lasts less than thirty minutes, but plenty of conversation is to be had. Then comes the main course, usually some kind of meat with the option of some vegetables. Depending on how fancy or simple, there are a variety of dishes to taste from. This course can last around 45 minutes to an hour as people really begin to eat slower to save their energy. Thank goodness for the time in between courses for bathroom breaks or shimmy shakedowns to make more room. Sometimes you just need a breather. Next comes the cheese plate. A simple plate has two to three options. And of course cheese is consumed with bread. Then, when you think you can't anymore, there is desert. And in my family, there are always two options, which in my mind, means you have to try both. But many stick to just one. But France is also known for its love of coffee, which comes after desert. By this point my eyes are glazed over and I just want a nap or to go to bed. But while there is a lot of food, the portions are well sized, slowing you to try everything without feeling guilty. I have to hand it to the French, they have mastered the art of eating. 

You Might Also Like


Comments? Questions? Advice? Let me know: