One of my main goals during my expedition in France was to not eat any meal that I can eat at home. There is no point in coming to France if you are not going to embrace in a large chunk of their culture. Since my French was not advanced like I wished, it was hard for me to read the menu and understand what food the restaurant had to offer. Interacting with the waiter helped me improve my French because not many understood English; therefore, if we did not understand what he was saying or vice versa, we would act out what we are trying to say or find a word similar. Repetition and practice is the underlying cause of my progression in the French language since the subject of my conversation with waiters was always the same. After a couple of days, I became aware of the meaning and looks of the different types of foods that are common on a French menu. Before I memorized the different foods, I would choose a dish randomly or asked the waiter which cuisine was their favorite. I tried multiple different meals in France, and fortunately, I can remember some of the French names of the food and can describe the meal I had using English descriptions. I had fondue which consisted of melted cheese and potatoes and bread; duck which was a darker colored meat that tasted similar to ham; foie gras which was in a pate form; maigre which is the dried breast of a duck; escargot which are snails; llamb; macaroons which is a dessert with jelly inside a soft wafer; “pain au chocolat” which was a croissant with chocolate on the inside; a southern french dish with pasta sausage and duck; a southern french dish with pasta and a meat like roast soaked in red whine for three days and slow cooked; and a variety of cheeses. Lastly, I enjoyed the food and orange juice carts that were available in the capital square. My favorite cart was the snow cone cart, and it had shaved ice, powdered milk, juice, and fruit in the middle of the ice. I LOVED IT! I hope I can replicate this at home.
I really admired the hospitality that the families showed us when we went on field trips. They made sure that were taken care of and happy with our visit. They wanted to make sure that our experience was meaningful and beneficial. When we visited the poultry farm, the family offered to buy foie gras and other duck products for us to taste. It was not an obligation, and it was kind and thoughtful that this family went out of their way to host us.
When going to a restaurant in France, I feel like I am at home eating at my dining room table. The environment is welcoming and peaceful, and the waiters are patient, kind, and helpful. They went out of their way to translate food on the menu. One waiter could not think of the English word for a food, so he went into the kitchen and brought out a sample to show us. We would go to a restaurant and sit for hours to talk. The French culture treat dinner outings like a sacred moment to bond and build a relationship with your friend or family. No one would rush us or bother us. The only time the waiter would interact with us would be to bring us more bread or water. This environment makes me feel at ease and content. I miss experience the most because it makes me feel like time has stopped and I can forget about the world around you and escape my troubles for a couple of hours.