Differences in food culture

After my initial post on how different cultures consume food, here is one more interesting one. French (on days that they don’t work that is) won’t eat the same food for lunch and dinner. In Greece, when we cook, we cook for the whole day. E.g. if the dish of the day is lentils, then we usually cook enough food for both lunch and dinner. In France (and on many other countries), this would be considered “leftovers”. Possibly, one of the reasons is that many of the French dishes must be eaten freshly cooked, while the Greek cousine which consists mostly of baked dishes and beans, it is easier to reheat, hense it has resulted in this cultural difference over the years.

Other differences:
– In Greek salads people are eating from the same plate that sits in the middle of the table, while in French salads you move the bowl around and each person is taking a piece of the salad on their own plate and eats it from there.
– If a food is difficult to eat with fork and knife, we are not afraid to use our hands to break bones and “free” the meat from these difficult to reach places. The French will simply not eat that part of the meat instead of using their hands. French only use their hands for meat from small birds and crab legs.
– We eat the fat out of let’s say, a lamb chop. Many French people will cut the fat out and only eat the actual meat.

3 Comments »

tOnGAs wrote on April 9th, 2007 at 7:27 AM PST:

Everything is so ture, except the part about using your hands to eat. It depends from what “region” of France you are from. I’ve always thought about it as a way to show that you appreciate the meat. But it’s also a well-known fact that people coming from “Alsace” are savage. ;-)


Thom Holwerda wrote on April 9th, 2007 at 12:20 PM PST:

In The Netherlands eating with your hands is only possible in specific settings, i.e. during a barbecue or when eating fries, kroketten, and frikadellen in a snackbar. We also eat bread with our hands (obviously) but that’s about it, I guess. For the rest, we use cutlery. Oh, and in Argentinean restaurants you eat spareribs with your hands as well.

It really differs per family, but some are overly sensitive about table manners, while others are less sensitive. My parents were always in the middle, but since I’ve been to posh restaurants and had fancy dinners more than once, I know all the rules concerning table manners; no elbows on the table, how to place cutlery before, during, and after the meal,how to use a toothpick in the proper way, that sort of nonsense.


Thomas Bonk wrote on April 15th, 2007 at 8:33 AM PST:

@tOnGAs: I wouldn’t regard Alsatians to be savage. Alsace and Lorraine are rural regions and so is the food. But I guess that the people think the same of us people from Saarland ;) which is located next to Alsace and Lorraine….


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