Aero: Dallas Zebrowski – France 2018 – Food and Dining

Aero: Dallas Zebrowski - France 2018 - Food and Dining

Aero: Dallas Zebrowski – France 2018 – Food and Dining

Dallas Zebrowski

Dallas Zebrowski

Before reading this reflection, please take a moment to sit down and prepare yourself for a bombshell so controversial that even Donald Trump’s twitter account pales in comparison. As a legal disclaimer, in the event of being overwhelmed by the upcoming bombshell, emergency services can be reached by dialing: 9-1-1. So, the time has arrived. Prepare yourself.

I was underwhelmed by French cuisine.

Honestly, I am not sure why. Perhaps the constant hustle-and-bustle of the trip or the eight-hour flight ruined my appetite. Perhaps the French focus of natural ingredients and total annihilation of GMO’s did not agree with my palate, which subconsciously adapted to enjoy the fillers and chemicals found in American foods. Maybe I was not eating the proper meals for the occasion. But, regardless, I was underwhelmed by French cuisine.

It’s not that it wasn’t good; almost all the meals I had were well crafted examples of French cuisine. But there was not anything that hit me, nothing that made me stop in my tracks and fall in love. Unfortunately, not even raclette. While the dish was extremely good, it wasn’t a first love. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was its familiarity: mashed potatoes, cold-cuts, and melted cheese – common staples in the American diet. Crafting your own meal at the table was an added bonus, as fondue and fried meat skewers are a few of my personal favorites.

But, moving on to the analysis of my cultural experience, if raclette was the familiar beacon then breakfast was the uncharted waters. My host family served me either croissants or toast with the quintessential bowl of coffee. To begin with, I am not really a croissant person, but I found them to be alright. The biggest difference would have to be the portions though. In America, a modest breakfast consists of two pieces of buttered toast or a bagel with crème cheese; a cooked protein such as sausage, bacon, or eggs; granola topped with yogurt; and packet of oatmeal. (Apple cinnamon, of course.) A large breakfast, usually a weekend delicacy, is a ham and potato omelet with chives and a hint of onion, three packets of oatmeal, the customary two pieces of white toast and a few packets of yogurt. Needless to say, the extremely small French breakfast was the type of culture shock I was hoping to avoid.

Regarding dinner, I found the meals to be remarkable like American cuisine. Excluding raclette, every dish served to me had some common trend with America. We had pork chops with pasta, pot-roast, and baked cod with seasoned vegetables. Excluding the one pasta dish that tasted particularly similar to my mother’s secret casserole recipe, nothing really connected with me.

However, with all that said, one aspect of French cuisine I did fall in love with. I am not sure how to describe it, perhaps atmosphere or ambiance would properly convey the notion. Every time I was in a French restaurant, I genuinely enjoyed being inside. I loved the relaxation that came with the meal, the pride the servers took in their work, the genuine appreciation of the meal set before me. While it may sound strange, I could take or leave French cuisine, but I would love to go to a French café or restaurant every day for the rest of my life.

On another plus, café culture had gained another admirer. I adored going to French cafés, regardless of the company, and enjoying a glass of café au lait with the little chocolate accompanying it. I loved the readers participating in the same activity a few tables over and paying for my drink with coins. The expresso was always delicious, and I believe the notion of American expresso “putting hair on your chest” is just a convenient excuse to mask its inferiority to the French. This admiration of café culture went far as to seek out an expresso maker for my apartment. While I could not find one at Wal-Mart, it will sure be on my purchase list, along with a raclette set.

Dallas Zebrowski
Study Abroad – France 2018 @ FLCC

World Languages @ FLCC: France Study Abroad 2018

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