Paris Notebook


Eating Local in Paris

People ask if my eating habits have changed since moving to France, assuming that Americans live off processed junk and shop in giant supermarkets.  Thankfully my upbringing was nothing like that and not all that different from how I eat in France.

My mother worked full time, but managed to make a home-cooked dinner for four kids every night.  We had a milk man who left fresh milk and eggs on our porch and a butcher named Tony who wrapped my mom’s packages in brown paper, tied up with string.  My parents weren’t foodies, but for some reason we never bought meat from the supermarket, only from the butcher. I remember one night my father asking with suspicion if my mom had bought that night’s steak at the Acme, and you knew from the tone of his voice that this was not something you wanted to do.  Produce came from the Amish farmers market up the street and we had a vegetable garden in the summer.   We had all sorts of tomatoes in that garden and I have never tasted better tomatoes than the one’s my father grew.  I learned that eating fresh local food was better.  No one told me it was better, but it certainly tasted better.

There’s a myth that everyone in France shops at outdoor markets or their neighbourhood butcher, cheesemonger and baker. Sadly this isn’t always the case. While many still shop at family run shops, more and more people are opting for the ease and convenience of hypermarchés or giant supermarkets just like Americans. And even if you do shop at outdoor markets in France, it is by no means a guarantee that what you’re buying is from a local farm and may very well be from some industrial farm in Spain. Click Here To Keep Reading