Aero: Kelsey Hamilton – France 2014 – Food and Dining


Aero: Kelsey Hamilton – France 2014 – Food and Dining
Creative Commons Image via The LEAF Project

Aero: Kelsey Hamilton – France 2014 – Food and Dining


Kelsey Hamilton

Coming from a country that is constantly on the go, using drive thru’s like Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonald’s as a constant go-to for food, has altered our understanding of what good real rich food tastes like. When I first found out I would be traveling to France I knew I wanted to expand my plate, from the good ole’ meat and potatoes to something I couldn’t pronounce but knew it was something my taste buds had never experienced before.

Baguettes, crepes, croissants, and more, the food of Europe, the treats through out France gave a whole new meaning to rich and tasteful foods. The French lifestyle when it came to food is much different then ours. I noticed how they take hours to sit down for a meal, experience every bit of it, one course at a time. The family I stayed with wanted to make sure I had the full experience of French food always bringing me a new dish to try, and a drink to complement it. Their way of dining almost make me feel ashamed to eat what I do to keep up the energy I have to go on with my high strung go-go-go life.  

Breakfast was always something light, a buttered bun, or cracker with jam and a cup of coffee ifs what many of them started their day off with. I also did too, at first I felt as if I was starving but soon enough I learned that they might have a method to their crazy eating habits. Lunch was larger but filling, never just a sandwich or a salad something homemade and flavorful. Each meal never lacked flavor or interest for me; it was always something new and always brought me back to rethinking my own diet here at home. 

Out of all the meals we ate daily the one that you could see truly meant a lot to the French culture was dinner. Not only was it large, but also lasted quite a long time; salad, an entrée, dessert, and a drink to complement the flavors of the meal. Every dinner my family made they family took the time to make it from scratch. From buying the vegetables or meat that day at the market and bringing them home to prepare it, it was never just a throw in the oven baked meal. Their dinner started late at night (at least it was to me) but hat never seemed to bother them, that could explain why their breakfasts were so light. 

ML@FLCC France 2014 Flickr Gallery

ML@FLCC France 2014 Flickr Gallery

While dining out I was exposed to the French restaurant business and what goes there would never fly here. From stray dogs coming into café’s begging, to waitresses and waiters being a little less than nice to the customers you began to realize the difference in the dining cultures between France and the U.S. Waitressing is a just as common there as it is at home, but the difference was there were no tips accepted, and being a kind sweet waitress wasn’t exactly the first thing on their list when they first approached your table. The one experience that really brought this out for me was in Paris at a small café/restaurant the waiter was good, he brought us our food and drinks but lacked the personality and smile to invite people to be comfortable while in his presence. It is understandable going out to eat isn’t an everyday occurrence for many, and in a city like Paris full of tourists I can’t imagine being a waitress without tips could be too fun. At that same restaurant I experienced having a dog enjoy my meal as much as I did. Not only was it common for dogs to come in strolling off the streets to beg for food, but to have a few cross the street with you at the cross walks was just as interesting to me (along with the wonderful dog fecal mines coving many sidewalks). I found it humorous how they treat their dogs like people. Which is what many do here at home, but health code violations just don’t matter too much there.  

Overall my dining experience fulfilled my expectations, from the croissants to the crepes my taste buds were never disgusted or freaked out (quite frankly I am pretty sure they thank me) Cause MacDonald’s, or Wegmans just doesn’t cut it some days. Food is a rich, colorful, and beautiful aspect to the French culture, one I have taken home with me to share with my family and friends and amerce them into the wonderful world of French food.

Learn More: Study abroad with Modern Languages @ FLCC

– Kelsey Hamilton

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