La Cuisine Française: Extortionate but Exquisite

by malias

This article was written by Gina Reay, published on 12th May 2010 and has been read 55435 times.

A few weeks ago, I was teaching a class about the delights (or lack of them) of English cuisine, this then led to a discussion on different types of gastronomy, Chinese, Italian, Thai. To finish the lesson I asked them, 'if I gave you a hundred euros and the choice to go to ANY restaurant in the whole of Paris, what type of cuisine would you choose?' To my surprise, 90% of them said French.

Now we know the French are well known for being nationalists, proud of their culture and their country, but they weren’t kidding about the food. It is incredible and I will miss it profusely. The stereotype tells us that the Nouveau Cuisine French cooking is one big plate with one tiny mouthful of a helping in the middle. The reality is very different. The French restaurants in Paris cook like a grandparent would cook for their family. Everything is rich, heavy and mouth-watering. My favourite restaurant, by far, in Paris has to be a little bistro called Chez Paul at Bastille. Extortionate but exquisite; nothing beats good meat, good wine and good company and in a French restaurant, you know that’s what you’ll get. What also strikes me, is how eating here is such a big occasion. I’m used to the English way of grabbing a sandwich at my desk on my lunch hour and spending the rest of the time browsing Facebook and BBC News – this is not the case in France. In my office, each employee gets up to two hours to eat (yes two whole hours, it wasn’t a typo!) The canteen offers the choice of starters, main course, desert, salad, fruit, cheese, wine – you could have a seven course meal if you were really hungry! After eating, everyone will take a coffee and/or cigarette outside, before heading back to work. When I first arrived I thought it was such a waste of time, but you begin to realise that it is the complete opposite. Satisfied workers = happy workers. Happy workers = better workers. Better workers = more money. If only the English government weren’t so tight! All things considered, however, it’s not the two hour lunch breaks that I’ll miss the most. Nor the steak and red wine at the stylish french restos… it’s the crêpes! Officially the best UDM (Unnecessary Drunken Meal) ever invented. Borderline healthy, scrummier than cheesy chips with all the toppings under the sun, screw snails, for me, they’re the best French dish!

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