Wednesday, November 7, 2012

If I close my eyes, this butter sandwich will taste like food

Where are the French? Where do they work? We wandered through the streets for an hour in Paris just admiring the apartment buildings, with their shuttered windows and cute little Juliet balconies. It's like walking through a movie set. So if we hadn't been hungry, it might have taken us longer to realize that all the shops and restaurants were closed. The French are Catholic, and are closed on Sunday. Later we found out that they are also closed for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on days that end with Y.

I'm joking. Kind of. Throwing out a completely unresearched but possibly accurate statistic, I'd say that 75% of the stores I saw in France, in any city, any given time of day, were locked up. The rest were open between 10am and 5pm (except for Mondays and sometimes Wednesdays, and occasionally by appointment only). I'm wondering how anyone in this country makes money. A full time job must come out to 1000 hours per year. Actually, it wouldn't be so bad. I would also love to live a little more slowly--have two hours for my breakfast every morning (espresso and a croissant), take weekends off, read a book during my 3 hour lunch break. If only I could manage to stop being so hungry.

We've concluded that the French survive on bread and occasionally cheese, which explains both their svelte figures and their ability to make a living. Never before have I been so aware of America's super-size culture. I expect three full meals a day, and I expect the food to be fast and plentiful. If I order a small, it should be large. If I order a large, it should be obscene. And I don't even eat that much!

In Europe, small means small. At the hotel breakfast, I modestly place one of each item on my tray, and turn to face a cafeteria of people eating a crumb with no butter. Even my condiments look ridiculously greedy. It's hard not to feel self-conscious, especially when I'm also trying to pack croissants and yogurt for lunch, and full meat sandwiches for dinner.

A Parisian Lunch

Nov 20th:
I adjusted to the bread and cheese diet after a few days, but that all ended with the All-you-can-eat ribs in Bruges. Now I'm back to being hungry all the time, but in Germany where it is cheaper and easier to resolve. Currywurst, bitte?

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god! You sound like Goong Goong when I first went to Paris. I called home to tell him what I had eaten that day and he said, "Do you know why the French are so thin? All they eat is French onion soup, and bread." Did you go to Paris Chinatown past the 11th Arr? they are always open, even on Easter.