Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trying to Give Reason to Eat Way Too Much Bread and Cheese

I will have to write much more and include a large number of pictures about French food soon but in the time that I have allotted for writing tonight. I do what I can. The internet connection that is availble really is very slow here in Cluny, France. It is very similar to dial up which I have not used in years. I write this post while hearing fighter jets from Dijon shooting past overhead breaking the sound barrier from time to time or so it sounds.

Parisians are interesting because of the way that they get from place to place, which is unusual to an American. They appear to walk, take a scooter, or take the metro. You do not see many cars and those that you do are the equivalent of a Toyota Yaris or smaller. People seemed to always take the metro if they were going from anywhere within the city or the train if they were going anywhere more substantial. The amazing thing is that almost all the metro lines that I rode on were busy at any hour during the day. Even more people walk though if the weather is nice out. I used to see men and women in business casual walking through the parks that I visited or walking to the local sandwich shop.

It is hardly surprising that most people either walk or take the mass transit system when you look at the price of gasoline. A liter of gasoline was around 1.60 euros. When you convert euros to dollars that is 2.16 dollars to liter so a gallon is 3.75 liters thus a gallon of gasoline would cost 8.10 dollars. The price of taking the metro is less than 1 euro per trip if you buy per trip and if you buy a pass like the city residents do it costs less than 0.25 euros per trip. It is really quite remarkable how well organized the transportation system of Paris is to transport as many people as possible. The USA could learn something from the French in regards to how to reduce a dependence on gasoline-powered cars.

As an exercise physiology major who is interested in nutrition, I thought that it was really interesting that Parisians are for the most part thin but eat a lot. Many of the things that they eat are very high in fat with a large amount of alcohol. To counter this very heavily fat diet that appears to the common viewer as a terrible diet that is opposite what most dieticians prescribe, the Parisians eat a very high quality diet. Every meal was prepared with a salad on the side and the constituents of the meal were very apparent. Nowhere, except the American food chain restaurants, did you see a food that would likely have more calories than it appeared. The steaks disclosed the exact weight in grams and the pasta dishes came on plates that were appropriate to their calorie content.

I was happy to find that the Twinkie is not a usual part of the diet but rather a croissant made with real butter is the common indulgence. I bought a bag of sables (a type of cookie) from a store and the ingredient list was 5 ingredients long and not one was artificial. The label went butter, wheat flour, sugar, ground almonds, and almond extract. Food is simple, untouched, and delicious with the ingredients being the focus point. You do not scoff down food because it is a source of calories but savor the flavor.

What a relaxing life it is to sit back and really think about the food that is front of you. You find yourself eating less and eating better than in America. Food is undoubtly more expensive but it is really worth it. When you combine the life style of the Parisians with the food that they eat, it is not surprising that you never see a really obese individual. For that matter, you don’t really ever see an overweight person unless they are from another country, like America.


  1. Dan,
    Your observations are acute, wry, thoughtful and charming. Enjoy the wine, the cheese, the croissants and sables.

  2. Your post makes me want to eat a croissant. Love it!!