BritGirl eats lunch

By Jill Hanby

I am currently writing in a post-lunch haze. You know the feeling, you are all nice and warm, full of delicious food with the after taste of your post-lunch cafe.... ahhh bliss.

But hang on a minute, this is something French!

Yes, before I moved to Bordeaux I was not a lunch girl. In fact I think I was quite possibly very British and would often eat lunch at my desk, in my office. Some days .... (wait for it) I didn't have lunch. I know, gasp! Mon dieu! But it is true, caught up in office life, a busy job, the phone ringing, people knocking on the door and the general nature of my job and life in the UK, I just didn't always have time or even fancy lunch.

Dare I even mention that in my office we generally either ate lunch at our desks (the general office rule was that someone would always have to be in the office, which didn't make going out for lunch all that feasible!), we didn't eat anything or we just snacked throughout the day - you know the sort - a cracker here, a biscuit there and a carrot stick a little later ... no real lunch but grazing, nibbling or for a great French word 'grignoter'!

But here in France that has definitely changed. At the weekends, there is nothing better than a 'menu fixe' and a pichet du vin with my other half. Watching the world go by and enjoying good food what more could we ask for?


Although I would like to point out that I am not one of those many people you see in a restaurant/cafe during the week at lunchtime, I still have lunch in some form, be it a baguette en route or some soup/salad chez moi. Yes, somehow, the French lunch has crept into my life.... and do you know what? I think I like it!

I love seeing everyone sitting outside a restaurant at 12.30 eating lunch with their work colleagues. Could there be anything more sociable and pleasurable? What a nice break from the day job, a change of scenery, a step outside and a good meal to set you up for the afternoon to come!  Although I do have to ask, how to people NOT fall asleep after a big lunch and glass of wine half way through the day... especially with work looming afterwards? Although I enjoy seeing the full restaurants and think how great it must be to get out of the office I am still not fully convinced that a 'big' lunch like that would partner too well with an afternoon of work and thinking!!

The French staple of Steak and Frites

A good lunch has to beat sitting at your desk brushing crumbs from your keyboard or getting home at 6pm with a rumbling tummy, eating things you shouldn't do before preparing the evening meal! So, I make my boyfriend lunch to take to work everyday (yes, I know, model housewife in the making!), every evening I craft a baguette sandwich, concoct something to re-heat at work or dig something out of the freezer so he too can enjoy the fun of a French lunch with work colleagues! Then the next day I ferret through the fridge to find something tasty for me to have at midi.

Why is this I wonder? Back home, for six years, I never bothered with lunch. It didn't interest me at all. I was happy to nibble as and when or to eat nothing until tea time. Do you enjoy the French lunchtimes or have you maintained your own 'food culture'? Is it important to you or am I the only one with this new routine? Dare I ask, am I becoming French?!
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