French - Family Meals

French - Family Meals

A French family will start the day with petit dejeuner, or breakfast, which is regarded mainly as a snack. It will consist of milky coffee, drunk from large cups or bowls, sometimes with a spoon, and bread - bought that day if the family lives close to a bakery - spread with butter and jam and balanced on a saucer. Most families do not have croissants for breakfast except at weekends or holiday times. Nowadays, as more women go out to work, English-type pan loaves, which can be kept for several days, are often bought to make into toast for breakfast.

The main meal (diner) is eaten in the middle of the day, either at home or in a restaurant or canteen. Like the rest of the Western world, the French have become very aware of cholesterol and the danger of over-eating. So the main meal comprises an hors-d'oeuvre or soup, a meat dish with perhaps a separate course of either vegetables or green salad and, finally, either a dessert or fruit or cheese. The evening meal (souper) will be lighter: soup or an hors-d'oeuvre, a fish, cheese or egg dish, then fruit or cheese or a fruit-flavored yoghurt.

If entertaining visitors, there may be a plat unique, a dish such as cous-cous or paella that is complete in itself, or the meal may be more traditional, with four or five courses. Nowadays, many families claim to seldom drink wine except when entertaining, on which occasions they would expect to serve one labeled 'VQDS' (vin delimnite de qualite superieure) or 'appellation controlee'.

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