Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do they sell soda in Cannes?

France is a country where people live to eat, not just eat to live. Food and drink are taken very seriously in France. And, yes, I know they are taken seriously in other countries, too. But, I am living in France and blogging about France, so work with me on this one.

French has two words that translate as "to eat" in English: manger and bouffer. Manger is used to express eating for the sake of enjoyment. Bouffer is used to express eating to satisfy the animalistic feeling of hunger. J'ai mangé un sandwich and j'ai bouffé un sandwich both mean "I ate a sandwich", the first meaning that the sandwich was the food of choice, while the second meaning that the sandwich was all there was.

When you finish a meal, one of the highest compliments you can pay to a French chef is "C'était fameux!", meaning literally "it was famous!" I used that at a friend's house after dinner. His wife turned to him and said sarcastically, "Why don't you ever say that to me?"

Still, fast food has its place in France. The French might argue that these restaurants are for the foreigners who come and can't stomach their delicacies like snails, frogs' legs and roast rabbit in mustard sauce. And, there could be some truth to that, seeing that the two main fast-food chains are American (McDonald's) and Belgian (Quick).

However, the most profitable market for McDonald's outside the US is France. This is partly because of the high price of the items on the menu. For example, the combo meal (called by the English name "Best of...") with a Big Mac, frites and Coca costs 5,90€ (US$7.75), and you pay an additional 0,60€ (US$0.80) if you want a "Maxi Best of..." menu -- French for "Super Size". In fact, the average amount spent per customer in France is 9,30€ (US$12.25) compared to only 3,95€ (US$5.20) in the US.

(Author's note: The statistics above were gathered purely for investigative and journalistic purposes, and not for the enjoyment of the author.)

So, in the land of foie gras, bouillabaisse, and hundreds of cheeses, fast-food, snack-food and soft drinks are finding a place of their own. And, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the answer to this article's title is, "Yes, and they sell it in bottles, too."


Gail said...

Loved your blog at first blush (not referring to wine) and will read in more detail at lunch time.

april said...

Love your blog! Know the cote d and love the place dearly.

Bouffer is slang for manger. It implies stuffing yourself actually.

If you haven't heard of it or seen it, see if you can get a copy of "La Grande Bouffe" a great movie about eating gourmet food until you die. Very french in tenor.

Michael said...

So glad to see you're back to blogging. Another great post!

Valerie said...

Watch-out... The Frenchies are reading you....
Cheers :-)