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Discovering the foods of France

Meanwhile With Madeleine…

By Madeleine Fuselier

 

Hi there! I am a life-long Orangeite living in Paris. I am spending this year teaching English, improving my French, and exploring France (and some of its neighboring countries) before heading to college next fall. Keep reading to find out what’s been going on “Meanwhile With Madeleine.” Thanks for allowing me to share my adventures with you!

One of my favorite parts of living in France has been all of the wonderful food I’ve had the opportunity to try. Here are ten food-related discoveries I’ve made since coming here:

  1. The French eat SO MUCH BREAD. Walk into any neighborhood “boulangerie” and you’ll understand why. I had to start pacing myself when I realized I had eaten an entire baguette in less than a day.
  2. The French are super serious about after-school snacks. Every day, the kids I work with run out of class to chow down on their “goûter” that basically amounts to a fourth meal.
  3. An unexpected bonus of moving to Paris is that I’ve been able to try foods from all over the world. Paris has every kind of restaurant imaginable, and it’s been so much fun having my friends from other countries introduce me to their favorite foods.
  4. I also didn’t expect how hard it would be to find many of the ingredients we regularly use here in the States (it took my roommate and me about a week of searching before we were finally able to find sweet potatoes).
  5. My favorite place to go for pastries and coffee is A. Lacroix Pâtissier. It was there that I was introduced to what a real madeleine (a type of tiny French cake) is meant to taste like. The shop is located right next to Notre Dame with a view of the church that could easily be mistaken for a painting. If you ever find yourself in Paris, A. Lacroix is a must!
  6. The French are not into spicy foods. This Cajun girl has missed her Tony Chachere’s.
  7. I’ve found that people don’t really eat “on-the-go” in Paris. It’s not very common to see people eating as they walk or while they ride the subway.
  8. Parisian food markets are the best. There are tons of them around the city (many of which are only open on certain days of the week), but Marché des Enfants Rouges is probably my favorite. I love going on a weekend morning just to browse. There’s a little stand there that serves the most amazing sandwiches ever.
  9. When I’m craving something from the motherland, I go to Kraft Hot Dogs. Their “Delicatessen” hot dog rivals any I’ve had in the States.
  10. I was excited to learn that the French have a tradition very similar to our Mardi Gras King Cakes. Served on the Epiphany to celebrate the arrival of the three wise men, the “Galette de Rois” contains a tiny porcelain figure called a “fève.” The youngest child of the family hides under the table as the cake is being sliced and picks who gets each piece. Whoever finds the “fève” in their slice of cake gets to be “king for the day!”