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Slow food…

Happy Bastille Day! Just a little gem to shed some light on our cultural differences while the French celebrate, apparently without any foodie traditions, across the pond.

Umami sister, ever the intrepid younger sibling (and impressive amateur photographer, no?), is spending the month exploring Paris. She recently sent an email with a list of “things I miss most about American culture.” Only a three-item list, I might add. One of them, though, true to my own heart, was “the concept of coffee to go.” Here’s what she said:

“The conversation I had with the breakfast room lady at my hotel was hilarious when I tried to get coffee to go. I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen, but I thought I’d try. This all happened in French:
Me: Do you have coffee to go?
BRL: To go?
Me. Yes, to go.
BRL: (Bewildered) Where are you going?
Me: Outside.
BRL: To smoke?
Me: No, no (plus a gesture to indicate “never mind,” since I don’t know how to say that in French).”

…and Slow French

Umami sister went on to admit, with that whiff of fake desperation that I just can’t resist finding deeply amusing, “I’m really enjoying my French classes, though I kind of placed into a remedial level. But I think we all know that lower-level language classes are more fun, am I right ladies??”

Convenient excuse or no, it’s true – they are more fun. Just the way I’ve always found European attitudes toward food a lot more fun, not to mention reasonable, than our own Culture of the Microwaved Chicken Finger. But I must admit, the idea of starting the day without the all-American, all-enabling portable coffee drip makes me very nervous. (Ironic, no?) In fact, it makes me feel like placing into remedial French. And if I ever get to travel farther than the OB’s office again, perhaps I will.


Hi there, I'm Carolyn, and I'm delighted you're here. I'm a NYC-area food, travel, yoga, coffee, wine, running, music making and book obsessive with a great family and a love for sharing it all with you. Grab a drink and come on in. Learn more.