Food at the heart of a culture, Housesitting in France, Musings

The F Word

Why you won’t get fat in France

You laugh, well seriously it can be done if you do it like the French.  So below are a few pointers we have learnt along the way, and don’t always do!.

 ♥♥ French portions are smaller. NOW this is harder than the other tips to execute.  We have to admit it is more enjoyable having a little piece, as in we get to try varieties! Meal portions tend to be manageable when you’re out. After a French meal, you’ll feel satiated but not think “Gawd, I’ve eaten way too much!”.

♥♥ The French don’t snack. Or rarely. If you look hard enough, you will, of course, find, chips and other high-fat snacks.  Interestingly there seem to be fewer MacDonalds over here, [as an offshoot to the comment about takeaway places, there seems to be less rubbish around the streets].    Though in general, it is not part of the culture to eat ‘junk food’ directly after a meal.  The French tend to not nibble on snacks all day.  Apparently, not everyone abides by the same rule, especially us two, For every rule, there is an exception, and this is in the form of a sweet around 4 pm which the French call the gouter.  Who can resist just a little something sweet with their café?


♥♥ The majority of French are active and like to walk/bike everywhere. Living in a town situated in France where you can run errands on foot, do it. If possible and when it’s not snowing, leave the car at home and head into the village with your wicker basket for the market.   All those steps add up, as in 10,000 of them, which we are trying to extend or do every day.  Though in the area we are the car is used more due to the countryside location.  Luckily, we have a few fun areas to go for a walk.  Housesitting and caring for dogs is certainly a great motivation to get out there and do more exercise.

 ♥♥ The French leisurely enjoy their meal and eat at the table. A Sunday lunch in France is a relaxed affair, it’s enjoyed.   Good conversation with wine while each course is served and enjoy good conversation and laughs while savouring each bite. Well, it does depends on your family and lifestyle, but again, generally speaking, the French enjoy mealtime and don’t rush through it. With most businesses closed at midday makes having a leisurely Sunday lunch much easier.

♥♥ Their coffee is black. In a cafe,  when visiting a cafe after asking for a café, you’ll get a little espresso cup of black café with a sugar cube.  Or if you want a larger black coffee, ask for a nero Grande café.  Unfortunately, many cafes have differing terminology.  If you so choose to have milk, you have to ask for it, or in our experience, they usually ask us, we rarely have done so as the coffee cuts the sweetness from the pâtisserie. There’s no takeout coffee in cups.

♥♥ They eat dessert!  Why not?  Life is too short not to do so, and the French do it often! Going out for just a dessert is not unheard of. A dessert is always included in the prix fixe menu [a fixed menu].  Dessert is a must as is the cheese course. It’s a small piece just enough to know that you had a delectable dessert!

♥♥ There doesn’t seem as many preservatives in French foods vs other countries.  French food appears to be more natural than what you’d find in the average supermarket in other nations.  Even though junk food and processed food is available in France, many French tend to do the slow cooking, starting from scratch.  Generally, there are fewer preservatives in foods brought in French supermarkets. High fructose corn syrup isn’t widely used in packaged foods, meat and chicken taste divine and fresh pastries, and cakes are considered by us an indulgence, at least it’s all natural sugar, butter and cream without all the extra additives/preservatives/hormones.

A bit of light reading and check out our very own NZ foodie and writer Peta Mathias and, another engaging writer, Mireille Guiliano while munching on a croissant and sipping an espresso.

Bon Appetit, remember just in a small way!

The F Word.jpg 2

20 thoughts on “The F Word”

  1. Lots of good practices it sounds ideal …Some are practised here meals are meant to be enjoyed with no interruptions you don’t interrupt a Thais lunchtime or you do at your peril… lol…So meals are leisurely here and family oriented but family is strong here which I love. Snacking… gradually the ways of the west are being introduced which is a shame. Lovely post-Suzanne and those macarons are screaming eat

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read French Children Don’t Throw Food when my first was born in an attempt to learn about instilling good table manners. It taught me how to make a yoghurt cake for the gouter (which I happily adopted) but implied the French mother avoided the cake for a solo black coffee. I didn’t pick up the habit!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This all sounds lovely, although I’m not sure I could get used to small portions especially when it came to dessert! I do think we go the UK and there’s a lot.of wastage, so we could learn a thing or two. Meals also feel rushed here. I like the idea of a leisurely dinner 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to be training [walking for half marathons] and over the last few years of tasting incredible food, a few kilos have gone on. Though I still do a reasonable amount of exercise, it would be rude not to try all the food we come across 🙂 Like the saying goes, energy in energy out. Not complicated just hard to implement sometimes!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. France is so close to us but wow what a difference in lifestyles! I love it that everything stops at lunchtime and people take their time over dinner. The last time I was in Samoens, the staff in a grocery store were literally waiting for me to finish my shopping so they could lock up and go off for lunch. Totally unheard of in England! But so wonderful to slow down. Sounds as if you are having a blast!


    1. Thanks Gilly, yes we enjoy France. NZ is the same as in 7 day trading. Think it was the 1990’s when Sunday traditional Sunday Roast was traded for Sunday shopping 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Anna, much appreciated. Also, sitting at the table was always compulsory for dinner when we were growing up.


  5. What a fabulous adventure you are having! Thanks for documenting it. When I lived in France many moons ago as a student, I did gain weight. I was addicted to eclair au chocolate and ate them a couple times a day when I first arrived. It came off shortly for all the reasons you mentioned above.


    1. Your comment made me laugh Marian, as yes you are not alone in overindulging in pastries. It’s the trying of different cheeses that we need to cut down on. Oh well, tomorrow is another day 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s