8.28.2009

Eating- Comme les Français



One of the biggest and most important aspects of French culture is food. The French revere food. They love it, savor it and treat it with the respect it rightfully deserves. I love food too. I like cooking it and eating it. But lately I have found that I don't have as much respect for it, comme les Francais. Allow me to explain.

While living in France, I quickly learned that with each meal came a ritual- a sacred right. The table would be set, napkins out (cloth, bien sûr), wine or still water poured and either music or conversation (or both) were the only background distractions. The scene would be set and food would be the star. I relished in these meals. The food was simple, yet glorious and it made even the most insignificant of meals (a quick breakfast before heading off to class) feel glamorous.

Cut to a few years later back in America, chez moi. Breakfast might be eaten in front of the computer while checking email or reading blogs. Lunch is consumed in a quick trip home after taking out my dog, often times standing up or watching television. Dinner would find me and my husband (who is very hard to get to sit still for long periods of time, btw) eating quickly with Fox Football Phone In in the background, each one of us almost in a race to finish, place the dishes in the dishwasher and be done with it all. Oh how sad indeed.

I have noticed that I have let things go in the eating department and I can't think for the life of me why. I spend a lot of time preparing meals (tonight I made roast chicken, potato gratin and sweet corn) you'd think that I would want to honor the food I've prepared by actually paying attention to it! So, I have decided to devote this entire week to savoring my meals. Eating each one sitting down- focusing fully on the taste of the food, allowing eating to become a sensual experience. Yes I am talking breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm very excited to report back to you on how it all goes and what- if anything- I gain from the experience.

Won't you stay tuned?

Liz Skelly watercolor image courtesy of: http://www.cexii.com/liz_skelly.htm

8 comments:

Rebecca said...

This is so very true. I found myself today starting to eat right out of the fridge and then I stopped and got a plate and cut things up and put them on the plate nicely instead. What a difference! Thinking of Julia Child and this blog helped me to be aware how I was eating. It was much more enjoyable and filling. Also it's important for the quality of the food vs the quantity, a very French concept I believe.

Looking forward to the next installment!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rebecca- LOL I can't tell you how many times I have caught myself eating out of the fridge and realizing how "non chic" it is, mid-act. Glad I'm not the only one! You are so right about quality vs. quantity. I think if you sit down and honor the food you are more likely to eat filet mignon than Mc Donalds :)

Laura [What I Like] said...

Yes, I have a similar problem. It seems that breakfast is the only meal that I savor (but boy oh boy do I). Lunch is sort of a lost cause and dinner, unless we have company, is even worse. Tragic!

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

The French always manage to make the simplest acts so elegant. Such a true post! I find myself sharing meals with my daughter whilst I'm doing housework, making notes and mentally in a thousand other places at once. I shall be interested to see how your experiment goes! xx

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Laura,
It is tragic. Sometimes I feel the same way about dinner. Not sure why other people have to be there for me to make a ceremony out of it. I can't even imagine in the old days when people would get dressed up every night for dinner! Hmm, maybe I should try that too! :)

Your blog is fabulous btw. I just checked it out and am adding you to my list.
xo

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Hi Josephine,
I am totally with you on this one. I have found that even when I'm sitting down (against my will:) I am still not mentally at the table with the food. That will take some practice- to be in the present moment.

ScentScelf said...

Absolutely important as a goal, and I think your comment about trying to "be in the moment" captures one of the most important benefits of this practice, no? Am eagerly reading on to see how your experiment goes...

Dining on Deals said...

A great observation on how our culture eats. I can't tell you how many times breakfast is a bag of dry cereal in my car or at the office, and lunch much the same. Dinners, if I take the time to make them, are an occasion when the hubby and I sit down and talk - but that only happens once or twice a week. The rest of the time it's something defrosted in front of the tv. I need to start cooking more!

 
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