Przejdź do treści

Different perspectives on french cuisine

  • przez

French cuisine from the perspective of a Pole

During the week spent on the trip, we already had a chance to collide with the cuisine and culture of France. We got to know the views of the inhabitants of the surrounding cities, students of the high school in Le Muy, and even Poles living in France. It is said that there are as many opinions as there are people, but we can all agree on one thing – French cuisine is certainly unique, and to learn the whole truth about it, you need to come to its country. This is what the guest of today’s post did – Mr Sławek, a Pole living in France – with whom I had the opportunity to talk about this topic:

Dominika: I would like to ask if you like French cuisine and do you consider it healthy?

Mr. Sławek: Yes, I really like our Polish cuisine, but French cuisine is much more diverse, I also like this better because there are more vegetables… we also eat them in Poland, but probably not as much as here . Here, they eat these vegetables, a lot of fish and seafood. I think French food is good.

D: And what is your favourite dish?

S: I like vegetables, but with meat, beef for exemple. They eat a lot of beef you know? It is imported to France from Argentina, from Uruguay; but of course they also have their own local beef. I like meat very much and beef is a healthy one in general. And of course I like fish. They have different kinds of meat: steaks, entrecote, grillades made in different ways.

D: In general, I’ve heard that frequent beef eating is unhealthy because it clogs blood vessels, and do you think that such food is healthy or do they somehow recompensate for it?

S: They don’t eat it every day, but if they go out to a pub or restaurant, they rather look for beef. At home, they eat like everywhere else: some pasta, something quick and easy to make. But when they go out to the restaurant, they will probably eat beef and fish. In every restaurant you will find a menu with beef.

D: And what do you think about the approach of the French to their cuisine?

S: Oh, they are snobs, you know how it is, they think there is no better one

D: And do they care about their health? Do they think about what they eat?

S: Yes, my surroundings, where I know the French, I think they take care of this matter: „maybe not this, not too much of that [about food]”. I have French friends who say „of course, meat only once a week”, they care, they care about what they eat. Some can afford it, some can’t, but I think everyone is paying attention.

D: Do you think French cuisine is healthier than Polish?

S: Healthier, there are no thick sauces. I mean, we also don’t eat these pork knuckles and ribs all the time, but these things are fatter than their cuisine. When it comes to health, French cuisine is healthier for sure.

D: And do you think that the French have a different approach to health than Poles?

S: They take better care of themselves.

D: And they have more knowledge about healthy eating, does it somehow come naturally to them?

S: Of course. You know, we’re talking about the French, in France five hundred kilometres away they eat differently, I’ve been there where it’s colder, they eat differently. The south of France is based on light meals. Look, if it was forty degrees and you ate soup or some hot meat, you would „die” from it. They have to make up for it somehow. Lighter and better for digestion. But the French cuisine in the north will be a different.

D: I heard that Brittany uses a lot of butter, this girl told me about it, she comes from there.

S: It’s an ocean, it’s the north of France. We are „here” and Brittany is „here”. Mr. Sławek draws circles in the air, drawing the location of the Côte d’Azur and Brittany. So they have the ocean, and then they have the North Sea, that is England, so it’s cooler there, there’s no heat. Brittany is a cold region, but they eat a lot of seafood there. All kinds of crustaceans, snails. They have more choice there than here.

D: And do you think that there is more education about the topic of healthy eating in France? For example, more extra lessons about it at school? In Poland, we don’t have too many things like that.

S: I think when the school is making food for a thousand people, someone thinks about making it balanced. I think someone thinks about it and they have such an education. It seems so to me (…). This is how I feel as a Pole. I know some of French people and I think that what I said is probably true. I know people who don’t think about what they eat at all: „a piece of baguette, sausage and that’s ok”, but there are people who care about it: „at noon I will eat this, in the evening I will eat this, and for breakfast I will not eat this”.

D: The French eat rather sweet things for breakfast, they have such big dinners. And it puzzled me, because we were always told [in Poland] that you should eat a lot for breakfast and have strength for the whole day, and dinner should be so delicate that you don’t eat too much before going to bed.

S: Climate issue, nothing else. If it’s hot here, how are you supposed to eat this breakfast salty, you don’t feel like it. So they eat sweet: croissants, some jams, preserves, and you know very well that such food gives sugar, gives strength. We are so „sluggish” after the night, such a sweet breakfast gives us a energy. Also – they can’t „fill up” themselves with ham, sausage, scrambled eggs at nine or eight, and eat lunch at twelve. Well, the next thing is: if they eat a poor breakfast to make it to noon,  they have to eat a big dinner. It’s also a tradition: when it’s 8 p.m. and the whole family meets, they eat dinner for an hour or an hour and a half. And that’s why these dinners are so complex – they gather family around the table. But it’s also a matter of the climate, although I’ve also been to my family where it’s cooler, and it looks like that too. But it’s mostly about tradition and getting the family together.

D: And even though they eat at strange times for us, they are still thin, is it a matter of regularity?

S: „You open your eyes and you know it’s going to happen”, parents prepare breakfast, children wake up and there is coffee with milk, croissants, jam and preserves and no one asks „And I would eat something else”. It is standard there that you have a ready breakfast on the table. (…) I go to pubs sometimes here, there is no restaurants with breakfast where you can eat scrambled eggs. You go to breakfast there and they’ll give you a croissant, juice and coffee.

D: So the French, when they visit Poland, are probably very surprised?

S: They are surprised: „scrambled eggs? ham? How can you eat like that?” They like it, they like it, but it is a great surprise for them. This is the matter of climate and tradition (…). This system in France is a sacred thing.

D: Thank you

S: Ask if you need.

What have we learned?

We can learn some important information from my interview with Mr. Sławek. First of all, French and Polish cuisine are very different. Especially when it comes to meal times. The climate forces many French people to eat small and light meals for most of the day (especially when it is very hot) and a big dinner in the evening when the air temperature drops. This turn of events is also influenced by the cultural matter – dinner is a moment when the family can spend time together, because they had no time during the day, which is why this last meal was divided into three parts: appetizer, main course and dessert.

On the one hand, the consumption of so much food at night overloads the functioning of the body, and the digestive system: evening and night are the times when all organs should regenerate, eating in the evening makes the body more busy digesting the food we have provided, than rest. On the other hand, the French make up for this late eating regularly in their meals. In France, people eat at regular, unchanging times, which is effective for well-being and prevents additional fat storage in the body.

Mr. Sławek shared one more observation – he noticed that the French eat very slowly, they take their time, and meals are eaten in a positive atmosphere, which improves well-being, and slow chewing promotes digestion and helps nutrients to be absorbed more effectively.

In addition to interview to Mr. Sławek, I had the opportunity to ask the French themselves about their eating habits. During my visit to the local school in Le Muy, some of my peers shared their insights with me, and with the help of some I was even able to create a simplified meal schedule for the average French teenager. Many issues are repeated with Mr. Sławek’s words: some took great care of their meals, others ate junk food. One of the students confirmed Mr. Sławek’s thoughts on the diversity of French cuisine: having lived in Brittany in the past, she had a broader view of this subject and told me differences between the kitchen in her native region and the one in which she lives. In the former (and generally in the north of France) because it is cooler, you eat a heavier and use a lot more butter. Interestingly, she also told me that this is where more seafood is eaten (this is mainly due to the fact that Brittany lies by the ocean, not the sea like the PACA region ((Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) where we were). It is worth remembering that the overuse of butter has negative health effects, because of its saturated fats it leads to elevated cholesterol levels, which in turn accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, congestion, ischemic heart disease, and can even lead to stroke.


French cuisine, despite its sins (heavy meals before bedtime, overuse of butter), is rather healthy. We can find a lot of vegetables and seafood in it, which are a source of nutrients. In addition, the same way French people eat helps them to stay healthy and slim: they eat slowly and without stress, while their meals are regular, at similar times every day. However, it should be remembered that in such a large country as France, this cuisine may change a bit depending on the region and to get to know it in full, you need to visit this country many times.

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *