Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

David Doran: Essay

French Food and Me
David Doran

As I have mentioned in class once before, Iwent on an exchange to France during my sophomore year of highschool. I learned a great deal about the culture there, especiallythe part of the culture dealing with food. One of the stops wemade was at the Hard Rock Café in Paris. The waitress spokeEnglish rather well, which was refreshing. As we were orderingour food, she tried to warn us that in France, meat is not cookedas thoroughly as in America. When I got my burger, I saw thatshe was very right. I ordered a cheeseburger cooked medium-welland it came out pink and dripping. The bun was soggy from themeat juices before it got to me. The lesson I learned there: whenit comes to meat, medium-well means halfway pink and still bloody.

Walking through the streets in a small town,we come to a street vendor selling warm sandwiches. One of myclassmates orders a chevre sandwich, not knowing what it is. Hetakes one bite and decides that he will not be eating any moreof it. After consulting our teacher, we learned a helpful pieceof information: chevre is goat cheese.

I also encountered some of the French cuisineculture in the home of my host family. Firstly, the definitionof desserts is much more broad than in the States. Fruit, cheeseand yogurt are all served after the main meal because they areconsidered to be dessert. Such foods could constitute lunch inAmerica. Also, the French, and other Europeans, I believe, donot bother trading their fork between hands while they eat. Aftercutting food with the fork in the left hand and knife in the righthand, it is perfectly acceptable to place the food in one’s mouthwith the fork still in the left hand, instead of switching thefork into the right hand. Similarly, it is not uncommon for someoneto scoop the food onto the back of the fork using the knife andeat it that way.

The final lesson I learned in France came afteran hour and a half at a wine tasting festival: cream of cognacis good.


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