9.06.2010

The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris- #20 Snacking Is So Not Chic



Mindless snacking that is. Trust me- there was no errant box of Cheez-its laying about by Madame Chic’s sofa (actually they didn’t have a sofa… but you get the idea)...

There are many things that are simply not done in France and mindless snacking is one of them. Of course there is nothing wrong with the occasional afternoon nutella crêpe or petite sandwich au jambon- (eaten with pleasure and only when one is truly hungry, of course). But overall, France is not a snacking culture. (And, for the record, I absolutely never saw any of Famille Chic snacking on anything between meals- ever. Isn’t that crazy?)

When I realized there were no snack foods chez Madame Chic, I must admit, I panicked. I was addicted to snacking. I don’t think there was a day in my life up until that point where I didn’t snack on something in between meals. What if I got hungry? What if my blood-sugar became low? These concerns, in the end, were unnecessary. I never found myself to be ‘starving’. I did find myself to be hungry, but that can actually be a wonderful sensation. I was so used to snacking, I never knew what hunger was. And being slightly hungry, I enjoyed my meals that much more.

I have two theories on why the French don’t snack. The first is that they tend to go from one really great meal to the next. Breakfast is good, lunch is good and dinner is definitely good. Why would they want to ruin their appetite by stuffing themselves with a semi-disgusting cracker in the interim?

My other theory is that snacking is not very chic. Have you ever watched someone mindlessly snacking? Sitting in front of the television with a bag of pretzels or a pint of ice cream- absentmindedly eating while not really paying attention? Perhaps crumbs falling down the front of their shirt? Or an errant drop of ice cream ruining their perfectly pressed skirt? No, snacking is the opposite of chic. And in Paris? That simply won’t do.

Won't you stay tuned for #19?

The print pictured above is a vintage Art Deco poster I acquired while in France of Roger La Grenouille Restaurant. I love how chic the diners in the restaurant look- all dressed to the nines and enjoying both the food and each other’s company. So quintessentially French... and you can be sure that none of these people would dream of mindlessly snacking before this fabulous meal...

My book, Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris will be published by Simon & Schuster and re-released in the fall of 2012.

17 comments:

BigLittleWolf said...

When I was a young teen living in Normandy, I do recall late afternoon snacks for the kids - fresh baguette with butter and chocolate. Mmmmm. Heaven.

Adults? A nice café and conversation. What else could you possibly need?

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

I think the French have so many great habits and customs.
I am so glad that you are sharing these here.
I try very hard not to snack...and I agree about feeling hungry in anticipation of enjoying a great meal.

# 19 cannot come soon enough!

Michael Rivers said...

I'm a big snacker. I rarely eat big meals, but several small. Maybe that is why I tend to snack so much? Great idea for a blog series!

the gardeners cottage said...

i am a snacker. but i guess not in the traditional sense of a bag of chips or ice cream. being vegan, food passes rather quickly through my system so i kinda have to keep up with it. i tend to snack on heartier, healthier things. and i do love afternoon tea.

you are right - you never see pictures of anyone in paris with a mountain dew or bag of lays. or how about a big gulp! that seems to be the new thing, i see them everywhere. i don't think they serve big gulps at sidewalk cafes in paris, do they?

~janet

Fiona said...

Jennifer, I am loving this series already and you're only up to the first one. You have such a way with words and your ideas seem fresh and inviting even though I already know 'no snacking' is the chic thing to do (but do I listen?). Thank you for shining the light from a different angle.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I would hate for somebody to film me snacking. It's great to see you back, Jennifer. I hope all is well and you are getting enough rest. xx

Anonymous said...

When I was in France this summer I remarked to my daughter that I NEVER saw the French snacking. And there was less litter! Our only snack was a delicious bowl of vegetable fritters that we bought in the market. Oh I can still smell them- wonderful!

Andi said...

I stopped snacking when I was in France but picked it back up when I moved back to the US. Just recently stopped in again and lost 5 pounds!

J. said...

What a wonderful post! I personally do not snack that much, I realized a few years ago that I was often mindlessly snacking, which really bothered me once I realized this was what I was doing.
So now I have a snack only if I really need one (which is very rarely), and not just out of habit.

Rose said...

hello, I hope you and all the family are doing brilliantly.

I try not to snack because I love meals so much! that said there is nothing quite so nice as the occasional totally indulgent snack!

Rebecca said...

I vaguely remember hearing about the opening of Euro Disney. The concession stands were filled, ready for the snackers to descend (like the Americans do?). The park opened and people were happy to ride the rides, but no one bothered to buy snacks. You would think someone would have done their research...

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Big Little Wolf- Baguette with butter and chocolate? Sounds so delish. Yes they love their afternoon coffees too- sometimes with a little pastry (always with a little pastry when I was there :) xx

Hostess- Thank you! I hope you enjoy the series!

Michael- Thank you- I am a snacker too- it is really hard for me to not do it. In Paris it was effortless. I just didn't need to snack. Back in California, my meals aren't quite so spectacular (unfortunately) so I do snack a little over here ;)

Janet- I love that you are a vegan. There are so many vegan cafes in Santa Monica (some of them raw) and they have such innovative, healthy choices.

Fiona- thank you so much! I'm really glad to hear good feedback. Whenever I start a new series I always have apprehension on how it will be received. Thank you xxxx


Josephine- me too! Sometimes when I catch myself mindlessly snacking (I'm usually alone when this happens) I picture other people looking at me doing it and that is usually enough to make me stop xx

Anon- Is that Linda H? Vegetable Fritters- delicious. I think when you don't normally snack and then you treat yourself to an unexpected afternoon treat it is enjoyed that much more. Don't you agree?

Andi- Congratulations! I do think that French women stay so thin because they don't snack. Think about all of the extra fat and calories they are missing out on...

J- congratulations on mastering the art. It is so hard to do. I would be interested to know how you did it. I think having satisfying meals really helps me. Today I had a delicious lunch and felt no need to snack...

Rose- Hello! Yes the family is doing wonderfully. As I write this, the baby is sitting next to me and we are listening to opera! xx

Rebecca- I remember that story too! LOL. So funny. I personally can't imagine Disneyland without copious amounts of disgusting snacks being consumed. Oh well. I guess it's good that I haven't been in over 10 years. Might start to go more now that we have a little one though ;)

MyPerfumeLife said...

Great post. I'm a sinful snacker but very much wish that I could kick the habit. I will keep in mind that it's definitely NOT chic.

Congratulations on the baby!

Charlene said...

Jennifer,
I've been reading your blog for some time now but haven't commented before. I love your posts and am especially excited about your top 20. Today's post was a great reminder for those of us who probably snack too much. Can't wait to see what #19 is. Congrats on your beautiful new baby. I'm glad you're all doing well!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Charlene- Thank you so much. It is comments like yours that keep me going! I'm really enjoying writing this series as it has given me cause to revisit my magical time in Paris...

My Perfumed Life- not chic indeed but so hard to quit! My trick is to not even bring the stuff into the house. It is the only technique that works for me back in California...

Anonymous said...

As a European living in the USA. I really don't understand this obsession with snacks. In fact, I do hate snacks, and I never eat between meals. I have to be hungry for my dinner or supper.

btw, really beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing such nice things.

Sandy

Beth Hazelton said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. After consuming Debra Ollivier and Mirielle Guiliano in attempts to glean all things French, I really like the points you are driving home.

Next time I reach for a cookie an hour before dinner I will remind myself that my French sisters would not think me chic. That will be enough to help me refrain from the snacking indulgence.

 
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