I just spent the last 2 hours at Paul having lunch with an older French guy in Dubai. By some turn of events we ended up talking about the french food culture. Although I had heard most of the information before while in Paris, I had forgotten all of it.
There is something I admire about the French people that I try to emulate. Knowledge about food is a natural part of the culture. It only makes sense to try to be an expert on the thing we as humans must do voluntarily our whole lives. If you grew up in a small village or town, it is only natural that you eat the cheese, wine and produce of the area. If food arrives from elsewhere, you are aware that this wine for example came from Alsace because it is only rarely in the market. This way you are always aware of the seasons and the locations of the food. If figs are not in season, there will be no figs in the market. If mushrooms are not growing, you will know because there will be nothing in the forest. That concept was new to me when I got to Paris. I was in fact surprised. How is this possible? I grew up going to the supermarket in the US and I used to take it for granted that strawberries must be there year round. It was not until I lived in Nigeria I was aware that live animals produce the packaged meat in the store.
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about seasonality and eating locally. It’s presented as a new idea, but it was the way of life not so long ago. Before and during the early parts of the industrial revolution that was the only way to live. It made no sense to travel from France to the USA for a piece of cheese when you could get something produced 10 minutes from your house. At that time, you might not even know that cheese is being produced in the USA. Yet now, this is the norm. There are 5 types of apples in the store from 5 different countries year round.
I feel that more effort needs to be made to return to this way of life to fix our nutrition and the planet.