I’m Not a French Chef, But Moving to France Has Changed This Expat’s Eating Habits!

This Expat Has Changed Her Eating Habits Since She Moved to France.

This Expat Has Changed Her Eating Habits Since She Moved to France.

As someone who has openly admitted to giving Americans a bad name when it comes to food and cooking, I have made huge changes since I moved to France. Although, we will still go to a fine restaurant from time to time to eat things we can’t possibly make ourselves, my New York lifestyle of going out to eat, grabbing or delivering something has become almost non-existent. Most importantly, my pasta no longer sticks to the wall like wallpaper paste, and you can actually cut and chew a piece of meat that I have cooked (much to the relief of my dear sweet man and children).

Although I know that I will never truly be French in my attitude and habits, food has become almost sacred for me. I’m not sure when it happened, but when I was recently asked if my eating habits have changed since I moved to France I was surprised by my answer. The change is in fact so dramatic that I’m not even sure if I should be proud or embarrassed.

As I write this blog post for you, I almost feel like a food snob. Okay, I think the word almost  is an understatement. I’m not proud, but I think that I have actually become one! We buy fresh foods found at the market. By fresh, I mean… literally. I cringe at the thought of buying or eating meat, fish or poultry that wasn’t cleaned/prepared for me in front of my very eyes. I don’t think I ever saw a fish head until I moved to France, and although I get laughed at by my French friends, I still don’t want to see it on my plate. Somehow, I don’t think I will ever evolve to that, nor do I want to. That said, fish and other meat products should be fresh. Who knew that fish doesn’t smell fishy if it is fresh? Okay, please don’t answer that. I’d like to continue thinking that I am not the only one who thought, all fish smells fishy.

Fresh Fish from Local Market

Fresh Fish from Local Market

As if the fresh meat and fish idea isn’t enough, I can’t help but gasp at vegetables or fruit in a can. If you just opened one up for dinner, please don’t hate me. The one thing I noticed here in France, is the ease with which one can find local markets that are open several times a week. Pretty much everything I buy come from the nearby fresh markets, leaving the supermarket for staple items like flour, sugar, etc. There is one hump I can’t get over… I buy mayonnaise and I will never put raw egg on my homemade Fettuccine Alfredo (Now, it is my Mother In Law who is gasping). The germ and virus fearing American in me just can’t get over that whole salmonella thing.

Although my Mom shakes her head and laughs about how crazy I have become about not buying something canned, I somehow feel better when she compliments my cooking and asks me to give her recipes.

Market Vegetables

Market Vegetables
Bellanda ®

Fresh Market Vegetables

Fresh Market Vegetables
Bellanda ®

You might be shaking your heads by now thinking, Who knew Bellanda was so crazy? She seems so normal in the Social Media Circle.  Hold that thought… Things are about to get worse or better depending on where you stand. When my children were little, one of them made a comment about carrots coming from the fresh market.  They were shocked to hear that they actually came from the ground before they made it to the market. Thus began a whole new way of thinking and buying food. We went online in search of a farm, and we not only found one not too far from Paris, we found one where you pick your own fruits and vegetables.

If you caught my Halloween Pumpkin Post, one of our little farms just happens to be the same place we buy our pumpkins at Halloween:  La Cueillette Plessis in Lumigny.  http://www.cueilletteduplessis.com/index.php

La Cueillette Plessis in Lumigny D20 - Route de Lumigny 77540 Lumigny Photos: Bellanda ®

La Cueillette Plessis in Lumigny
D20 – Route de Lumigny
77540 Lumigny
Photos: Bellanda ®

Put on your boots and grab one of the many wheelbarrows at your disposal to start loading it up with fresh delicious fruits and vegetables.  We do!

"Mommy, look what we pulled up from the ground!"

“Mommy, look what we pulled up from the ground!”
Bellanda ®

"Only take the red ones..."

“Only take the red ones…”
Bellanda ®

Oh, and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty... That is the fun part!

Oh, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty… That is the fun part!
You can wash them later when you rinse off your vegetable at the big outdoor sink.
Bellanda ®

Farm Fruits and Veggies Bellanda ®

Fall Season Farm Fruits and Vegetables.
Oops! It looks like we forgot to tell our little ones not to crush the freshly picked salad.
Bellanda ®

Although we don’t play farmer  as often as I would like to, it is a must for so many reasons: great produce, decent prices, and we get to teach our little ones about buying what is in season.  With the ability to buy any and all fruits and vegetables throughout the entire year, I didn’t even know what in season meant back home.

Much to the amazement of my Mom, we eat a real breakfast and cook two meals a day. I think the only reason she doesn’t call the men in white suites to bring me back home is because from time to time I will make a sandwich for lunch. My children adore them, so I try to ignore and put up with my Mother In Law saying in an almost shocked tone, “Oh, I see they’re eating American today? I guess they can eat French for dinner.” Even though I see sandwiches everywhere here in France, apparently I will never be truly French, no matter how much my eating habits have evolved… but hey, I’m totally okay with that.


8 thoughts on “I’m Not a French Chef, But Moving to France Has Changed This Expat’s Eating Habits!

  1. Really great article, I am French but move back again to my country one month ago and I completely forget how Fresh and Delicious food can be. My foreign friend living in France also acknowledge that even you can buy easily some nice piece of chocolate for almost nothing and still taste good. If any foreigner have the chance to taste homemade food in France, please do. Just found your blog and really enjoy it.


    • Thank you and welcome to my blog, Frederic. I’m glad that you enjoy my blog and am happy to have you on board throughout my journey. It is nice to have a French perspective… I appreciate you taking the time to voice your thoughts.

      I quickly hopped over to your blog and was immediately interested in several of your blog post titles… I look forward to reading the articles!

      Best wishes to you.


  2. As always I thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I laughed out loud at the many instances in your article that were true to me. The reason being, I am American and understand the fast food and lets pick up theory. Thank you for filling my head with a little knowledge of living in France. It makes me want to visit there again.


    • Thank you, Josie. I’m glad that you enjoyed the blog post and that not only did it make you laugh, you apparently do not hate me for giving Americans a bad name. 😉

      It is always a pleasure reading your thoughts. Your participation in my blogging journey is always appreciated. Thank you.


  3. I love your blogs. I can really relate to this as well – we do still eat out a lot but that is mostly due to my sushi addiction. I also remember eating many things from a ‘can’ in the US as a child, but I seldom buy anything in a tin now other than beans or tuna. I certainly would never buy veggies in a can, I don’t buy frozen either.


    • What a pleasure to see you visiting my blog. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to share your thoughts. I tend to have a little sushi addiction myself (one of the things I don’t attempt to make myself).

      Your participation is greatly appreciated. Hugs to you! See you soon on one of our many social media meeting places. 😉


  4. I’m sitting here reading this having just finished eating some pasta with raw eggs.

    Like you, I grew up with packaged meat at the supermarket, a fear of eating raw eggs and a fear of not having drunk enough milk. You wouldn’t believe the things that I eat now.

    Now I have no problems preparing my food. I even gut squid and cut off heads. I greating reduced my milk intake as I am pretty sure I am not calcium deficient. And the eggs, well, let’s just say that sometimes I whisk up raw yolks with some sugar and eat them. Delicious! And that’s not even all of it… I won’t go into the rest lest you die of shock.

    I know I wouldn’t do this if I still lived in Canada. People just don’t eat a lot of fish in my hometown and the quality of produce cannot be trusted. There are still risks in France of course, but I feel I can trust the quality more here. So I don’t blame people in North America for eating like they do.


    • You’ve made me laugh! I’m glad that you stopped by and could relate to my post and food fears. 😉

      Thank you for participating on this post. From reading your blog, I think we have many things in common. 🙂


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