If someone truly knows me, kind of knows me, or just met me, the person more than likely knows I have a passion (or sick obsession) with food. When I’m not eating I’m thinking about what I can eat later. I plan what I’m eating on which days otherwise I’m a complete mess and have an abnormal fear of dissatisfaction in what I eat. However, I also don’t like being fat so finding ways to eat unhealthy things and not get fat was also a game of mine before I left for France.
I actually was really concerned before I left that all of the bread, cheese, wine, bread, pastries, nutella, bread, butter, cheese, bread, bread, and bread would make me one chunky monkey (gorilla). But since coming here I have not held back and I actually feel healthier than before and I’ve lost weight rather than gaining…meaning, the French Paradox does exist and I will take full advantage. But here goes probably my most detailed post to date and probably after the fact. You might stop reading my blog forever, question my sanity, or more than likely both.
The first and most concerning thing I noticed was that milk is not refrigerated in stores here and sometimes not at all in the home. Francoise had whole milk and didn’t have to refrigerate it even after opening, and my host mother has milk that she only has to refrigerate after opening. It also doesn’t expire for 3 months. I was really concerned and asked them both about it, but they didn’t really understand my question because to them it was completely normal. So naturally I HAD to ask my program adviser. If you have no desire to know why, you should probably skip to the next paragraph about yogurt because I’m going to share my knowledge with the world, right meow. Conveniently, my program adviser’s mother works in the industry involving dairy pasteurizing. His mother told him that it’s just a different way of pasteurizing milk at a higher temperature ( je pense) and that it makes it okay to be @ room temp and keeps it fresh for longer. Interestingly enough, it’s also a method known and available in the US, but they are too scared to try it. Now you know more about milk than you’ll ever need to. Onward to yogurt.
In the states, I convinced myself that I liked yogurt. I even convinced myself that I liked greek yogurt. After trying multiple kinds of yogurt in France, I can now openly admit that I’ve been lying to myself this whole time. Yogurt in America is not good, and I do not like it. French yogurt is amazing and I’ve said it every single time (13) I’ve eaten it. It’s creamy and sweet and counts as a dessert. I know what you’re thinking, different brands, but you are (kind of) wrong. I’ve had different brands which are more dessert-like, but I’ve eaten dannon yogurt most of the time I’ve been here and it is the bomb.com. I am all over it like white on rice, or nutella on bread (see: BREAD). I’ll never go back.
Pastries are perfect and amazingly simple most times. My favorite so far is pain au chocolat which is literally a croissant with chocolate in the middle. I still have yet to eat macaroons, but I’m saving that for when I fully commit to living the life of Blair Waldorf. I will probably dedicate an entire post to pastries because I wuv desserts, so if this post doesn’t gross you out too much keep an eye out fo’ dat one.
The dessert which has been my fave (other than pastries) is the chocolate mousse I had in Paris. Literally I didn’t know chocolate could taste fresh BUT IT CAN. I felt like Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids.
I’ve never been a huge cheese person. Cheese and crackers, eh. Sure I’ll eat some brie appetizer. Grilled cheese? Why not! But I’ve been converted to a cheese-lover up in this continent. I’ve only had 4 different cheeses than the one’s at home but they are all amazing. I already mentioned the cheese on my croque monsieur, but according to Francoise&my host mother, it’s not “real cheese.” Okay ladies, try some american cheese and get back to me on that one. The first real one I tried was compliments of Miss. Tayler Vee, and I have no idea what it was. It was a little stinky had a stong flava and it was fab. The second was goat cheese. Also fabulous, even though it’s common in the states it’s still way better ici (melted in a crepe nomnomnom). The other two cheeses are super different but I’m obsessed with them. One is from the Pyrenees region and is super moist and good on its own. The other is from these two valleys in the Basque region and it is phenom. It’s stronger and more dry than the Pyrenees cheese but I love it. I will eat this cheese with blackberry jelly until the day I leave. It’s also really good for cheese and jelly sammies on a baguette! I guess what I’m getting at is that it IS as good as they say it is.
It all tastes good and it’s all cheap. It’s also strong. Think I’m going wine tasting one weekend, but that’s about it.
I have always loved bread, will always love bread. Every morning I have the petit grilled baguettes. They’re basically hard butts of baguettes that I put nutella on and dunk in coffee. I also like butter and jam and baguettes. Nutella and baguettes. Cheese and jelly on baguettes. Normal ham and butter on baguettes. Basque region ham and butter on baguettes. Baguettes on baguettes. You are what you eat, right? Get it? Probably not.
Basically you can see that I’m not eating like a weight watchers dieter like at home. I’m definitely eating what at home I’d consider to be unhealthy and deserve nothing but salad for the next 5 years. But something I’ve noticed is that everything here is fresh and the preservatives are not the same. When you go to buy meat, it isn’t packed with sodium to keep it fresh. It’s literally straight from the animal. At bigger markets you seem some prepackaged beef/chicken/stuff like in the states but not nearly as much. At a smaller market you’ll see it being cut straight from the deal animal. Supes fresh. In the states if I eat to much and get uncomfortably full, I feel sick to my stomach. Ici, if I eat a lot I don’t feel sick. In fact, I never feel the need to keep eating. I feel satisfied at every meal. IF you know me, you know this isn’t normal. I crave everything always. Ce n’est pas le meme en France.
If you read this whole thing it’s possible you have too much free time right now. (Just like me, since it took me just as long to write).