February 5, 2016

Breakfast Part 2

Following yesterday's post, I was surprised to turn on France Bleu Bourgogne, the local radio station, this morning and hear a nutritionist discussing what French people eat for breakfast. Listeners called in to say what they ate for breakfast. Guess what? Toast with butter and jam and a cup of coffee was the landslide winner. 

I am not making this stuff up. 

The expert said, "Un bon pain bien fait, c'est pas trop mal." A good bread, well-made, is excellent. The "petit déjeuner classique" is everywhere in France, and a good way to start the day. She said it was important to "fuel the machine" first thing in the morning, and chatted at length about the challenges of digesting coffee and milk together, why to choose butter over margarine (natural v. artificial), and the dangers of puffed cereals.

A woman of a certain age called in from Dijon. Her breakfast? "Les biscottes à la cancoillotte et la chicorée au lait." The cancoillotte replaces the traditional butter. 

Then we got into the eating habits of the English and -- gasp -- Americans. "Bacon is very fatty." Everything is possible on the protein front, "I suppose." (The derision was thinly veiled.) She encouraged experimentation: "Lentils or pasta for breakfast...why not? Anything is worth trying once. It's important to vary things." And the next sentence was "Most of the time, in France, we're going to eat bread in the morning." 

There followed a discussion of what "brunch" is here, which is almost as depressing as their efforts at club sandwiches and wraps. The French are wonderful at what they know, but they do not always excel at what they do not. They are not alone, of course; after all, you don't go to China for the lasagna. 

The expert left the studio, to be replaced by a couple more food pros who discussed how to make a quick meal with what you have in the cupboard or the fridge. You know, just throw something together. (American mind: mac and cheese, grilled cheese, can of soup, microwave popcorn, PB&J, Ramen.) The French were back on very safe ground...chicken with apricots; salmon with crème fraîche, mustard, and chives; sardines, walnuts, and shallots cooked in olive oil and served over pasta; quiche with mushrooms; "Sunday night risotto," with any and everything you can find in the fridge: vegetables, chorizo, cheese, etc. 

"Just something simple."


  1. I was just listening to a new podcast that I found, "Les Experts France Bleu Bourgogne". As the women were chatting, I thought "where have I heard this before?". It was here! It was the same program you described in this post! Hilarious! Thanks for the fun posts.

  2. That redefines amazing. Great fact-checking...ha ha. Thanks for reading. Sometimes, you might hear me on the same France Bleu Bourgogne. I'm the one with the accent.