Saturday, October 25, 2014

3 Squares a Day

Now that I'm technically five days into my Gallic cheese-a-thon, I got to wondering: Why does this country produce so many varieties of cheese, and how do everyday people seem to know them in astounding detail?  Literally every purveyor of anything edible here sells cheese.  And not just a few paltry picks; we're talking a massive selection in ordinary supermarkets to corner convenience stores.  That's right: several hundred cheeses, always available, at a reasonable facsimile of a plain old Kroger or 7-11.
One small section of a cheese case in a French supermarket
The only thing I can think of that inspires remotely close to this level of national food involvement in the U.S. is snack chips. Just a passing glance at the snack-chip aisle in a grocery store near you would communicate to even an alien from Mars that these are products of great importance to Americans.  Take Doritos, as an example. Are we satisfied with Original Corn and Nacho Cheese?  No, we need lots of options to satisfy our obsession and frequency of consumption.  We need flavors like, "1st Degree Burn Blazin' Jalapeno," "2nd Degree Burn Fiery Buffalo," "3rd Degree Burn Scorchin' Habanero":

and let's not forget my personal favorite, "Tailgater BBQ Inspired by EA Sports Madden 11":
One-stop convenience for video game playing enjoyment, weight gain and bad breath.

So back to the French (cheese) Connection.  I asked this consumption question of a native, who also happens to be an expert on the subject.  In his mellifluous accent, he explained: "Di-ahhhn, but of course zee Frahnch know all about cheese. We eet it at every meal!  Our mozzers fed eet to us at breakfast, lunch and deener.  We serve it for family, for guests, we even serve it for dessert! A glass of Sauternes, a leetle fresh feeg, a soft Gourmandise.  A parfait ending to a parfait meal."  You can say that again.  In fact, you can say my name like that again too.

Turns out, in fact, that the French eat 60 percent more cheese (and four times more butter) than we do.  Oh, and get this: only eight percent of French citizens are overweight.  Compared to 50 percent of Americans.  Maybe we ought to consider eating a leetle more Camembert and a leetle less Cool Ranch.


  1. Cute and enlightening!!! We enjoyed all your blogs and had not place to say now I'm saying it....xxxxxMOM

  2. Amazing writing from an amazing person! You make all of us who know you here in the States so proud that you are moving forward, and that the vivacity that has always been your spirit continues to burn so brightly. Just curious, though....Di, could you sample a genuine French kiss for me while you're over there? I'm desperate to know...Love, Chris