When I first moved to France a little over 4 years ago, I was immediately enamored with the food. I’m sure that’s hardly a surprise. I mean, this is the country that invented haute cuisine, chefs, bistros & the words “restaurant” & “gourmet”.
French dishes from various regions are known far & wide outside of France’s borders: foie gras, escargot, cassoulet, bouillabaisse, crepes & croque monsieur.
Everyone knows about Brie & Bleu Cheese. Grocery stores in the U.S. sell Herbes de Provence. Any idiot knows what a croissant is.
The point is, these people are not fucking around when it comes to the food. It’s an art; it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures & should be enjoyed. It isn’t just a means of survival or fuel – it’s a way of life.
However, while America eats itself to death, it’s only natural for the fat of that land to spread. Little bits of American culture can be seen everywhere & France is no exception. I’m not talking about the Hollywood influence & the fact that I can’t seem to escape George Clooney’s face no matter where I go in France. No, the American influence seeps into every little nook & cranny here.
Even the food.
Obviously, the haute cuisine & frog legs remain. But now, there is a Subway. There’s Domino’s, McDonald’s, KFC, Oreo’s & Pringles. While some French people do not consider sandwiches to be food (don’t ask me why) there are more & more people out there stuffing their faces with burgers & subs.
Granted… you might see them eating it with a knife & fork. The concept is still new for many of them. Try not to laugh if you see this… no matter how much it reminds you of Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld eating a candy bar with a knife & fork.
Of course, French people are slowly getting fatter. Not to the extent of the U.S., but it’s still happening. While French people have not generally been big into snacking, it’s catching on. The snack aisles in the grocery stores here are very small compared to those found in the states. You won’t find “family size” bags of chips, or countless varieties of snack food. It’s a little less obnoxious.
Sometimes, the packaging is the same as in the U.S. – a Pringle’s can looks the same, only with French writing. Other times, the brands are exclusively European, but it’s still just a boring package. A bag of pretzels is just a bag of pretzels.
What is the most amusing is when you stumble upon one of these French brands & they’ve attempted to “Americanize” it a bit.
Every now & then, as I wander the aisles, I come across something that is hilarious, but not at all something I would be interested in eating…
Don’t ask me to explain why “rock” is spelled “roc”, or why “monkey” is spelled “monky”. It doesn’t matter – it only adds to the ridiculosity of it all.
If the Monky Boy snacky crackers get lodged in your gullet, you can always wash them down with some evil green juice:
Of course, the most baffling & hilarious snacking treat that we’ve found so far is this:
Yes… Jumblies. Also referred to as a guy’s “junk”. His twig & berries. His plums. Sausage & eggs. The things that hurt when you kick them. His jumblies.
Ok… so, not all of the food in France is haute cuisine, or a world-famous regional dish, but there’s more than one way to enjoy food – even if that means standing around in the grocery store with a camera, pointing & laughing.
“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” (Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you what you are.) -Anthelme Brillat-Savarin