I was asked recently whether I’d changed my eating habits now I lived in France. My initial response was to say we ate more “smorgasbord” style meals and our consumption of fish has definitely increased, but I went away and thought more about it and we have changed in other ways too.
The supermarkets force you to change the way you shop. They really focus on seasonal, local produce, which fascinates me as part of my job focuses on this very subject. Other than the basics, I never plan now what fruit and vegetables I’m going to buy, I see what they have in and go from there.
I also tend to slow cook meat dishes more. Meat is typically more expensive than the UK, maybe on par with a good farm shop, in other words, you pay the right price for the farmers to survive, an issue that’s a problem in the UK. This drives me to select cheaper cuts of meat more often and then I cook it for several hours. The results are so much tastier and I’ve mastered the art of a mean Bourguignon!
Albeit we’re still very much in the “construction” phase, I have still managed to set up some vegetable boxes and grown our own food. The results of have been great and the pace of growth amazing: I could leave on a Monday looking at a Courgette flower and return on Friday to a fully formed Courgette ready to eat..
Nearly everyone has a vegetable plot as part of their garden. Green Bean seeds are sold by the box rather than the packet and are a true staple vegetable in the summer.
It won’t be a surprise to know our consumption of rose wine, bread and cheese has also gone up and we are very fond of the local tipple, Pineau – we like the red best but it comes in white and rose as well.
Ready meals are quite scarce in the supermarkets, with a very limited range. Again, this goes back to using seasonal foods and cooking fresh. We never ate many anyway, but it really does force you to change the way you eat.
Trying to work through what ingredients you can get and where your recipes need to be adapted is a journey: I think I have worked out the flour now, no self raising in France, and brown sugar seems to only be available as Cane. I do top the car up with some of the basics when we bring the car over, but overall, I want to buy everything locally, it just takes time to adjust and sometimes its good to be able to revert to an old favourite recipe. Investment in a French cookery book needs to be a next step – are you listening Santa!!
Have I put weight on? What do you think…..