Learning about the culture of French food has been an interesting and enriching experience. When one thinks about French cuisine, most think of the best, most famous food in the world. French cooking techniques can be found, in one way or another, in the majority of Michelin star restaurants as well as in the repertories of many experienced home chefs. One cannot overstate how much France has contributed to the culinary world over the years; with that being said, French food is -- to be frank-… boring.
In America, having a really well-cooked meal at restaurant is sometimes hard to find if you are eating on a student’s budget. As someone who cares a lot about food and cooking, I often times find the food served in restaurants in America is either over or under seasoned, dry, overcooked, etc. These are small things but nonetheless, things I notice. One of the first things I realized about French cuisine and eating out, is that the actual preparation of your meal is almost always perfect. Even the simplest meal like chicken and French fries (a dish the French love) always comes with perfectly cooked chicken and delicious gravy. Additionally, I find that most every meal I eat has just the right balance between salt, acid, and fat (rarely ever any heat though, which is something that truly pains me). It is hard to make food that is both well cooked and well balanced; I think that this is where French cuisine absolutely thrives and earns its admirable reputation.
Despite the undeniable quality of French cuisine, it feels plainly uninspired and antiquated. Even Americans know that if you put enough butter to anything it will taste good: just ask Paula Deen. But for a country which takes so much pride in their culinary legacy I was disappointed to find little that I did not expect. Part of this could very well be that I still have more to learn but at this moment I am not in love with French food.
Despite this, I have fallen in love with all of the other food in France. France is a diverse country that houses many first- or second-generation immigrants bring with them their rich culture. While I have been here, I have had the opportunity to eat Vietnamese, Thai, Tibetan, Italian, Spanish, and middle eastern foods. I have been able to experience new flavors and dishes while, at the same time, having the same quality that comes from French cooking. This came as the most pleasant surprise and is absolutely my favorite part about being here in France.
I have no dislike for French food, it just fails to excite me. If you visit France make sure to experience classic French cuisine once or twice so that you can appreciate why it is so world renown. After that, there is so much more to explore.
Hobart And William Smith College