3 May 2009

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my identity crisis (and a belated thank you to Margaret for her kind words). The longer I live here, the more I notice the subtle difference between English and French attitudes to life. England has become a mini-USA with its commercialism, price-reductions, 2for1 syndrome etc. However, this inevitably has its consequences in shoddy goods and 'built-in obsolescence' (as my brother used to say). Gone are the days when things were built to last. England has become a throw-away nation. Don't even think of repairs - just buy a new one (even cheaper and shoddier than the last).
With food, the difference is even more noticeable. French chefs have greeted a UK plan to put calorie counts on menus (to beat Government anti-obesity guidelines) with a mixture of horror and laughter. The French, quite correctly, say that the English don't understand about food and about our responsibility to eat well and nutritiously. It's not about buying the cheapest possible or ready-made convenience foods to fit into busy lives - then having to cope with the inevitable obesity that ensues. Le 'bien manger' is the most important French phrase ever. It's what fuels our bodies. Eat the best (not the cheapest), in small portions, at regular mealtimes. And don't snack on rubbish inbetween.
No wonder the French are laughing. They see the English spending their greater incomes on all those consumer items, expensive cars, expensive houses - then taking their children to McDonald's.
Enough said!

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