French Culture & Lifestyle – Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast DinersOver the holiday break in the South Pacific, we stayed in a hotel that had mainly American and French clientele. French because the island is French and American because the hotel is a part of a popular American chain. This makes for fantastic people-watching, particularly for my husband and I as we happen to belong to both those cultures and it is fun to see them together in one place.

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One thing that amused me was meals and in particular breakfast. But it was breakfast on our last morning that I found absolutely astonishing, it was like there was a big flashing neon lights that screamed: “stereotype achievement here – look now – stereotype achievement here”!

I watched a French man who had been at the hotel all week with his wife (I had observed them often) pick up a plate to go through the buffet. He sauntered directly to the baked goods table and proceeded to take what amounted to an entire baguette in sliced bread, and I am talking one of those large baguettes too and piled it on his plate. That’s it, a huge pile of baguette. It filled the entire plate. He went back to his table (where his wife was doing her French thing – plain yogurt and sliced fruit) and began slowly eating the slices. Each time placing a pat of butter and some jam before putting it into his mouth.

I was watching in amazement when a newly arrived American man sat down at the table next to him with a pile of food on his plate. Except that it was an entirely different pile! Two different types of eggs – scrambled and fried; bacon and sausage; and fried potatoes. Really sir, two kinds of eggs? I can’t say he was any worse than the entire plate of bread. A ton of carbs versus a ton of cholesterol, in either case, it was too much.

Moderation gentlemen, moderation.

In case your curious, I have written about a typical French breakfast and how to order coffee in Paris, they will come in handy should you want to learn more before a trip!

How about you? Have you observed cultural stereotypes during a meal? Do share!

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French Culture & Lifestyle - Breakfast of Champions

P.S. If you like the illustration associated with this blog post, it was done by my pal Sean Pete, a struggling illustrator who has a site at http://itsnotart.com/. Check out his site to see more. He is available for hire!

3 Comments

  1. Alison
    January 12, 2009

    Oh, I’m jealous that you were in the South Pacific! Pretty funny observation, though!

    Reply
  2. Audrey
    November 17, 2012

    Just last night my husband and I were at an art gallery opening at his father’s gallery. Our children were doing what they do, sitting at the front table and scarfing cheese and crackers and grapes. I was nibbling too, we hadn’t had dinner, but was trying to take the tiniest portions of cheese possible so as not to demolish the selection for the guests. Suddenly a guy walked up and took was amounted to a one inch thick by three inches long wedge of brie..popped the whole thing in his mouth..and then picked a cracker up as he walked away. HOLY COW, I thought. No wonder the cheese goes so fast!

    Reply
    1. Andi
      November 30, 2012

      @Audrey, my goodness, how rude. I swear they need to teach etiquette in school,maybe something like Emily Post or something!

      Reply

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