Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Bread and Cheese

Like the man in Pulp Fiction says, we've got all the same stuff here as you do in the US but its the little differences that make it unique. Also like Pulp Fiction I have seen the french drown their french fries in mayonaise.

The french love their bread. You can find regular loaves of break in the grocery store, but no one buys them except for children. If you want a sandwich you buy a baguette. If you look hard enough you can buy a baguette in the states, but you have to look. For the uneducated in breads, a baguette is a very long thin piece of french bread. It looks like the bread you get a Subway sandwich on, but usually longer. The funny thing about it is that it pretty much dries out in one day, so you have to buy them every day. Luckily you can find a boulangerie on just about every corner. Those are little bread shops that sell all types of baguettes and lots of breaded pastries and things like doughnuts. Its such an odd thing for an American to see. Literally there are these little bread shops everywhere. But that's the French, they want their baguette and maybe a little dessert all the time. Then there are the patisseries which are just dessert shops. They have some of the same things as the boulangerie but their desserts are much more intricate.

To complete my subject the french are mad about cheese as well. In a typical American grocery store you will find a small section of cheese. Usually about 4 different types in bricks, sliced and shredded. Here the cheese takes us an entire aisle in most places. They have all kinds of cheeses I have never heard of but am bound to try.

Some other little differences...In the city you don't speak to anyone on the street or acknowledge them in any way. In the states I would often make eye contact with someone walking down the road and say hello or nod my head or smile. Here that doesn't happen. Yet when you go to a store you have to start the conversation with "bonjour" or "bonsoir" (good day, good night) and when you leave you say "avoir" or "bonjournee" or "bonsoiree" (basically goodbye) It is considered highly rude if you do not.

Cashiers at grocery stores or big wal-mart kind of stores all have comfortable chairs. No standing all day on your feet like in the states.

Their aren't bills smaller than a 5. Anything smaller is a coin. So you build a lot of change quickly and its not just like nickels and dimes it could be a 2 Euro or 1 Euro piece.

Alright I tire for now...


mmullinz8 said...

It's good to have you back on line filling our little continentally locked minds with news of the world. I'm glad that you've been able to venture into the world alone. I have decided that there is one phrase you must learn in as many languages as possible. "Who do you think you're talking to?" I ripped this from Lost in Translation (good movie) and it seems like an all purpose phrase. If you are threatened, you bolster up and say it moments before you get clocked. If you're trying to intimidate someone else it's automatically making the first step.
Yes, I have had the baguette and it is not an item which has any sort of shelf life. I'm sure if you've had too many chances to eat out but on average what are their eating habits. You hear so much about French food being based in butter and heavy cream then finished off with more butter and cream; obviously with the mayo they have a thing for fattening foods. Observations?
Jamison has been a bit lax on his blog postings and I'm not sure what Sipps is.

midnitcafe said...

We've only eaten out eaten out once since we've been here. And then we went to a Italian place. I had a pizza and it was super cheesy. And not cheesy like American pizzas are, it was more runny and buttery. Like I said in the post there is a lot of bread here, lots of sandwich shops. We eat at those places quite a bit because you can get a sandwich and a drink for about 3 Euros.

They also have a lot of kabob places. Those places have these giant pieces of meat on a big pole. For the kabobs they shave off slices from the giant meat and throw it in a pita. They're actually pretty good, but you have to choose the right place and try not to get bad meat.

So I can't tell you alot about the food yet. I hear Alsacian food is different from normal French food because of the German influence, but I don't really know what that means yet. French service is slower. Josh made me laugh talking about his experience with slow service. The Italian place we went to was super slow too, but that's just kind of the way it is. We were seated, and it took a good 15 minutes to order our drinks and food. And you have to drink slow because refills on anything are not free. We got our food after about 45 minutes of waiting. I think our waiter came to us twice during the whole meal. The french make a big deal out of eating and they are very slow at it. So a meal can take literally several hours. We offended our waiter because we didn't finish all of our food (which was enormous, I mean I had like an eight slice pizza!) We were there all in all about 1 and a half hours all together.

Jamison said...

im enjoying the posts as well, especially being on the phone with dell tech support and them not saying a word, i guess they are typing or researching....

I hope I get to visit over there one day.
Part of me wants brew to come back as soon as possible, the other part of me wants him to stay there longer so we can save up money and time to crash at his pad!

midnitcafe said...

You are welcome to crash here. Look around tickets are not that expensive. We've even got a blow up mattress you can sleep on.