Tag Archives: Heritage

Frenchie and le Goûter

30 Sep

This post marks and celebrates today the 1 year anniversary of Frenchie and the Yankee. Thank you to all of the readers!

It probably won’t come as a surprise if I tell you that American and French meal times are drastically different when it comes to dinner.

Yet, I still feel puzzled and completely surprised when I receive an invitation for dinner – or supper – requesting guests to show up between 4:30 and 5:00pm.

Most of the time by 4:00pm I am about to enjoy a light goûter and dinner is probably the last thing I have on my mind.

Explaining the concept and the idea behind le goûter to Americans can prove as difficult as explaining that the French eat dinner around 8:00 pm.

If ever in doubt when traveling, just ask What time are the News on TV? and you will have your answer for when people prepare and eat dinner.

French News are on at 8:00 pm. American News are on between 5:00 or 6:00 pm depending on the area. It really isn’t complicated.

So what is a goûter?

It’s simply a snack. A light meal. It allows kids to eat a little something between lunch and dinner – meaning between noon and 8:00 pm.

We call it le quatre heures in French – in other words, the 4:00 pm snack.

The Larousse Cuisine recently provided some background information with their own goûter piece by saying:

“It was once a real meal, usually eaten cold and made up of cakes, cheeses, fruits and wine. It was gradually phased out during the 18th century when meal times changed.”

In the 20th century, goûter was probably the best part of the day for kids of all ages! Even for my grandparents, seventy years ago, who all remembered their slice of bread with butter and shaved baking chocolate on top.

“Sometimes we had a chocolate bar of our own and an apple. But not always. Shaving the chocolate with a knife or a grater would allow for everyone to have a little bit of it on their bread and butter. It depended on the meal tickets we received.

And do not forget that I was 7 at the beginning of WWII and 13 at the end – it was the prime goûter age for a kid. We could only have water at that time. But les jour de fêtes (aka Sundays) we would sometimes make French toasts.”

Growing up it was the sweet treat that symbolized the end of the school day.

Running towards the school gate to go meet mum or dad. Heavy school bag but happy heart.

Hopefully they picked up a pain au chocolat at the boulangerie so goûter-time can start right in the street while savoring the chocolaty prized baked good on the way home.

Sitting around the kitchen table on a wooden chair with a firm thick pillow under the butt to raise the chin level from under the plate, delicious options are gathered from the fridge and the cabinets.

A piece of baguette, butter and jam. A classic!

And it just so happens we found mirabelle-plum jam at the farmers’ market last Sunday – an end-of-summer treat.

Milk, juice and water? Hot chocolate? Take your pick.

Teisseire fruit syrup bottles with colorful caps make their appearance too. Pink for grenadine, green for mint and purple for cassis.

Decisions, decisions. You can only pick one option.

Tu n’auras plus faim après… And where are the straws by the way?

A small chocolate bar with 4 little squares. And just one bar. Not two.

Dinner is coming up in 4 hours. 

A bit of smooth salty butter inside a piece of baguette, four squares in the center – it’s a home-made pain au chocolat with a crunch!

Prends un laitage aussi ! How could I forget? A meal wouldn’t be a meal without a dairy product… and seasonal fruits – bien sûr!

A tiny strip of Gruyère or a slice of Camembert – not my favorite for a goûter.

Maybe hide it under the plate?

But goûter is not just for kids. Adults can also enjoy a light snack in the middle of the day with a cup of espresso and a piece of chocolate.

It’s like a treat you can’t talk about – a habit you keep hidden. Yes, le goûter has become a sort of It-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.

We’re not children anymore, we don’t eat goûter!

Yet, a pastry and a coffee will always put a smile on someone’s face and sweeten the end of the day.

Call it a coffee break. Or allow yourself to call it a goûter. We’re all des grands enfants after all.

Thank you to Annie and Yves Noiseau for the pictures of the little guys.

Frenchie and le Marché

14 Jul

In honor of le 14 juillet – Bastille Day in English – a post about France and something very French would be in order for today.

Markets! French markets that is. And not all markets either. Food markets. They’re my favorite. Not that I don’t like the other markets – flowers, flea, antiques, rare books. Au contraire! But the important tradition of the French food markets is anchored very deep in the culture and they are such a unique experience.

Seen from the U.S., they make France… well, so French!

If you missed the market on Wednesday mornings, or Fridays, there is always one somewhere in town on Sunday mornings.

Sunday mornings don’t all start with a trip to the market. No, they start with a grasse matinée – yes, sleeping in is a “fat morning”! Another idiom. To this day, I am still unsure if it’s supposed to mean that after 8:00 am you’ll magically gain weight from staying in bed, salivating about 2 or 3 crispy butter croissants.

In any case, once the nutritious coffee-baguette-jam-butter-croissant breakfast is over, with 3 wicker baskets around the arm, the call for the marché is heard loud and clear like a first crusade. And all roads lead to the market.

Just follow the French – they know where to go. And they all walk in the same direction too.

The discreet hubbub of le marché already surrounds me even though I am still walking towards it. Entangled voices of shoppers are intertwined with louder voices promoting a cheaper kilo of shiny red tomatoes and a dozen fresh farm eggs.

The melodic church bells are ringing – it’s 10:00 am. It’s always better to go earlier rather than later. By noon, markets become overly crowded and not as enjoyable to navigate through.

The place smells of everything and anything. Floating scents of garlic, curly parsley, ripe peaches, moldy Roquefort and greasy spit-roasted chicken as I walk past the different farmers. My nostrils are filled with appetizing flavors – it feels like having a fancy 4-course meal by just walking aimlessly and smelling the air.

I want to look at the prices first, let’s walk around. I never buy right on the spot. I want to see what each farmer has to offer and the quality of the food.

Le fromager is whistling as he cuts through a colossal round wheel of holey Gruyère cheese. Et avec ceci, Madame? This lady is not having anything else but I already eyed a big chunk of yellow cantal, which I think would royally pair with this light fruity red wine I still have at home.

The rustle of the thin plastic bags carrying food whispers throughout the market. It’s a sign people are buying. Baskets are full.

Oh, des fraises des bois! It’s not often that you see wild strawberries on the market – strawberries of the forest as we call them. So small, sweet, brightly red and deliciously strong. They’ll be perfect for strawberry tartlets with a lemony cream in the center. They’re expensive though. C’est une folie!

The French always “complain” about splurging and love to say out loud that it’s “crazy”. But they secretly love it nonetheless.

It’s a whole process for them – first, acknowledge the price, then announce the word “une folie” out loud, and finally, appear to find some comfort: ok, just for once – yes, pour une fois. Let’s get the strawberries! <shoulder shrug>

Le boucher has a great rôtisserie oven next to his booth-truck. Un poulet, s’il vous plaît, Monsieur. The skin of this slow turning chicken looks so crispy, I will make a meal out of it. Eggs, we need eggs! I know where to get them.

I prefer not to give my money away to the big farmers in their fancy food trucks. No, I buy from my favorite adorable 78 year-old grandpa in the corner there… next to La Poste and the Café Bar Tabac. He does not have much with him – eggs, some tomatoes, cherries, plums and green beans. I always buy a dozen from him. His wife Léonne is not here today, I hope everything is ok.

She’s taking care of Jolie, my best egg-layer. Something happened. I think the fox scared her last night. You’re not buying Jolie’s eggs today. These were laid by Picorette.

As he’s searching inside his rusty metal coin box to break my 20 €, the noises of loose change hitting the box with other coins echo sounds of empty cardboard fruit crates being tossed on the side.

The church bells are ringing again. This time it’s noon! Where did 11:00 go? And I did not have time to make it to the fish and seafood booths. They’re my favorite too.

Do we buy something to eat here or just go home? In all honesty, I want my crispy chicken now. The green beans with parsley and a bit of butter will be just enough. We’ll cook them in the pressure cooker – so much faster and they’ll be crisp, just how I like them. We’ll make a plum tart too.

The wild strawberry tartlets will be for tonight then. For dessert. Une folie!

Farmers already actively packed up and left.

Some abandoned wooden and cardboard crates stayed behind.

Hissing water sprays are cleaning the market ground.

Lively homes now sparkle with colorful fresh veggies and fruits.

We’ll go back next Sunday, c’est sûr!

Joyeux 14 juillet!

Frenchie and the Tuscan Gun’s Village Food

7 Jul

Frenchie and the Yankee tastes the essence of Corsican flavors and eats away during a lazy day spent in a village for Under the Tuscan Gun in Frenchie and the Corsican Village Food.

Sizzling olive oil, fresh peppery wild mint, frittata, smoked charcuterie and roasted kid. Taste this new post, it’s delicious! Spend a lazy day reading about the tasty and flavorful food from a rustic village lost far away in a mountainous maze.

If you enjoyed what you read, share it, tweet it, e-mail it, post it! Keep checking for food, adventures, desserts and wild encounters across the Island of Beauty from F & Y. It’s only starting.

Under the Tuscan Gun is the fresh, healthy, traditional Tuscan website created by American actress Debi Mazar and her Italian husband, Gabriele Corcos, to share their passion for Tuscan food.

Catch them also on the Cooking Channel where they invite viewers into their home and kitchen in the series Extra Virgin.

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