American vs. French Breakfast Styles

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 were big flashing neon lights that screamed: “stereotype achievement here – look now – stereotype achievement here”!

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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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 you are 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.

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

  2. 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!

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