Traditional French Foods

Anne-Marie and her family live in the French countryside. Many people who live in the country keep the same customs and habits that their ancestors followed. Many older people also keep the same customs. This is the traditional way of living in France.

Traditionally, food is very important to the French. They spend more than one quarter of their income on food and drink. At mealtimes the whole family gets together for good food

The quickest meal of the day is breakfast. The most common breakfast is French bread with butter and jam, or perhaps a croissant (kiwo sahn), and coffee made with hot milk.

Traditionally, lunch is the main meal of the day. If possible family members eat together, taking their time over the meal. Lunch breaks may last two hours.

Lunch has several courses. First comes an appetizer, called hors-d'oeuvre. It might be some cold meats or sausage called charcuterie (shar kut' re), a tomato salad or some other simple dish. Next comes the main dish, which may be a stew, roast or another meat dish. It is usually accompanied by potato or rice and perhaps a green vegetable. The main dish may followed by a small green salad. Cheese is usually served at end of the meal, before dessert. Dessert may be as simple as fresh fruit. Or it might be an apple tart or a creme caramel (krem kah rah mel'). A creme caramel is like a custard topped with caramel. Sweet desserts, like cakes or pies, are usually saved for special occasions. Sometimes cheese, yogurt or other dairy products are served instead of dessert.

With this meal, adults usually drink wine. Even small children may drink wine mixed with water on special occasions. Usually children drink water or fruit juice with the meal.

People who work in town may go to a favourite restaurant every day for lunch. Usually they eat the special of the day, three-course meal. The restaurant owner keeps their bottle of wine and brings it out each day for lunch.

After work, people often stop for a drink in a small cafe (kah fa'). They meet their friends and chat before going home for supper. Supper is a smaller meal than lunch. Often it is homemade soup, bread, cheese and a simple dessert, such as apple compote. Generally, the French eat a lot of bread at mealtimes.

Because everything that goes into a traditional French meal must be fresh, traditional Frenchwomen shop for food every day. They buy freshly made bread at the baker's and vegetables, and meat at the market or in small specialty shops.


. How are traditional French meals different from the meals you eat? What is the same?

Cuisine Francaise

Classic French cooking, or cuisine francaise (kwe zen' frahn sez'), is considered among the best in the world. Often people who want to become great chefs go to France to study with master chefs. French chefs and French restaurants can be found I in almost every country in the world.

What is cuisine francaise like? French chefs emphasize fresh ingredients. They use many different herbs and spices to season their food and create special sauces for different dishes. They can make any part of any animal taste good. Dishes such as snails, frogs' legs and brains are famous in France. But French chefs also make good simple food, such as onion soup and beef stewed in wine. Each part of France produces a different type of cooking. Chefs use food that is grown or produced in that region. In the south, cooks use tomatoes, garlic and onions. On the coast, they use a lot of seafood. Fresh vegetables are used wherever they are grown. Beef, Iamb and pork are also cooked in different ways. Wherever you go in France, you will find specific local dishes.