How to be French part 1

Mom, Ben and I exchanged French-themed gifts at Christmas. Books and games we’ll have to hide when people visit.

Mom gave me the most wonderful book on being French, which confirmed our suspicion that we’re already more French, in our hearts, if not our practices, than British. I want us all to become French. And it won’t make me any less proud to be English born, or of my British heritage. But I want us to start living French now, months before we move.

Here are my reactions to the chapters of the book, which it’ll be interesting to revisit once we’ve lived in France for a year or so.

Part 1 – Food

  1. Talk about food – I’m passionate about food, Ben is passionate about talking, we’re both food snobs. Treating food as fuel offends me. We do need to become fluent enough to have lengthy debates though.
  2. Eat things that look like things – Mom won’t eat fish that looks like fish and won’t eat meat at all, but I’m up for trying frogs’ legs, I’m thinking about bone marrow, and I’d eat snails but first need to get over eating muscles. I love oysters so just need to work out if I can swallow mussels and snails whole in the same way.
  3. Clink glasses and make eye contact – The kids have loved to ‘cheers’ since birth and instinctively know to make eye contact. Downing shots with Dutch, German and Austrian friends at university I am well-trained in the importance of maintaining eye contact.
  4. Sample eau de vie – If this tastes and burns the pit of the stomach anything like Aquavit I’m in trouble. I’m not a fan.
  5. Go to a market – I’m nervous because I’m a bit shy, and tend to be too polite to say no to a slab of cheese ten times as big as we need. My French always seems to be ignored as they reply in English. But I want to know enough about the different cheeses and meats to have an opinion on what I want.
  6. Eat horse – on purpose – I don’t know about this one. The eyes of a cow or sheep don’t haunt me in the same way that horse’s do when I imagine eating their meat.
  7. Eat an ortolan – Shame on me but this sounds delicious, but will we ever be able to afford one?
  8. Ignore the French paradox – Eat more fat but stay healthier? Makes sense to me, as it’s not just what you eat it’s how you eat. We need to eat more slowly, do everything more slowly, cut out stress, and make love more.
  9. Become a temporary monarchist – the idea of the galette des rois is perfect for Ben who is obsessed with all things king for the day, turning social norms  on their heads. Sounds like great fun for the kids and a yummy tart to eat in January.
  10. Enjoy l’heure de l’apero – Can’t wait. This hour-long pre-dinner drinkipoos encapsulates French priorities and lifestyle. We’ll be at home with each other, but we’ll refaire le monde anyway.
  11. Eat at McDo’s – We do love a McDo from time to time.



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