Wednesday, 16 December 2009

French Eating Habits



Compared to a 1994 survey conducted by the French government's Committee for Health Education (CFES) on French food and health, the results of its latest survey demonstrate that French eating habits are still very closely linked to their national heritage of eating good food for pleasure.

Although receptive to new ideas and trends, the French have changed their eating habits much more slowly than, say, the British. 76% of the French eat meals they have prepared at home, though the younger generation of singles between the ages of 18 and 29 buy convenience foods. This may be due to the fact that they live outside the structure of settled family life. Many young French, once they move away from the home are becoming much more convenience food orientated - though will emulate meals from their upbringing given time and money.

Around the table

The favourite place to eat a meal both for lunch and dinner is in the home.

75% of the French
eat at the family table. Although the media contend that there is some breakdown in the structure of family eating habits, in general the way the French eat remains structured around mealtimes. They enjoy eating red meat and are heavy on sugar. They are still quite heavy on cream based sauces, eat a lot of fish ( depending where they are based) and tend to still too stick to regional and seasonal food.

It would seem that without any great effort, the typical French meal is well balanced. It comprises the essentials: a starter and main dish with vegetables and meat followed by cheese and fruit for dessert. However, breakfast time in France is less balanced with only 8% of the population (mostly young children) eating a cereal ( usually chocolate flavoured), a fruit and milk product. The French diet is varied and balanced the French, in contrast to Anglo-Saxons, hardly ever snack outside of meals.

French Traditional Food Habits

It is first important to realize that the French have a great respect for their food. They have surrounded food with so much commentary, and cooking is viewed as being a major art form. Innovations having to do with food are celebrated and talked about as though they were phases in the development of a style of painting or poetry, and so you need to understand and respect the food more when you are in France.

One of the most important French traditional food habits then is that you take your time when you eat, rather than shoving it down quickly as we are so used to in the Western world. You should even sit your fork down between each bite, if you can remember to, and you should always have a glass of water with each meal, which will also help to make you fuller faster.

The French are truly notorious when it comes to their rules and regulations regarding their food. Most French chefs will take umbrage if you add condiments to a dish before even tasting it and it is also considered as being a grave insult if you ask for ketchup. This is because you are basically then telling the chef that their cooking is unsatisfactory, and it is unnecessary to add any flavoring to meals in France for the most part anyway because they are usually so well prepared.

Another of the most important French traditional food habits involves having conversations with others at the table. It is very important to keep up conversation while you are eating, but never talk with your mouth full because not only is this rude everywhere in the world but especially so in a place like France.

Keeping both of your hands visible is another French traditional food habit, one that is very important because if one or more of your hands is missing, then people will assume that you are playing with the legs of the person next to you or doing something else rude and uncalled for. You should also always turn your cell phone, pager, and other electronic gadgets and gizmos off while eating.

Bottom line- respect and enjoy!!! Bon apetit Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

Enjoy a romp around the Aude, Languedoc

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Happy romp!!

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