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French Culture – I’m hungry … and I’m in a hurry! Posted by on Nov 17, 2020 in Business, Culture, History, Vocabulary

A friend of mine was recently asking me about fast food in France. France – one of the world’s undeniable gastronomic powerhouses – has a complicated and conflicted history with la restauration rapide.

La malbouffe1lit. bad eating from the French for bad and the slang term bouffer / to eat (correctly manger)

France is, after all, the country that coined the term bad eating and where, in 1999, the future candidat à la présidentielle (presidential candidate) and future député européenne verte (French Green Party representative in the European Parliament), José Bové, led an attack on a McDonald’s, protesting the growing domination of the global food an agriculture business by huge multinational corporations, that made international headlines.

And 36 years ago, most people that I knew looked down on McDo’s (as McDonald’s is known in France) and Burger King … even though you could find both on the Champs-Elysées. And you could eat anytime at the slightly-less-offensive-because-French (and not American!) Quick (which to my untrained American eye was basically a McDonald’s/Burger Clone … but French 😉 … ).

Today, France is one of McDonald’s most robust markets outside of les États-Unis2and outside of Covid quarantines!. French McDonald’s have adapted to their culture with robust McCafé’s (even selling macarons!), beer and wine, and even a McBaguette (a sort of jambon beurre but aux steaks hachés/with ground beef patties!).

Speaking of les États-Unis  … I’ll always remember the first time I was asked what my native language was and when I replied “l’anglais” (English)  I was corrected and told that I spoke “l’américain(American)3Note that French people also differentiate between le français et le québecois (French from France and French from Quebec.  … Similarly I had it pointed out to me that I didn’t live “en Amérique” but “aux États-Unis” … and it is true that l’Amérique … or more appropriately les Amériques (l’Amérique du Nord, L’Amérique centrale, et l’Amérique du Sud)4The Americas: North America, Central America, and South America. is (are) much more than just the United States … but I still think I speak anglais (et français!). Click here for a quick audio discussion on the topic from the DGLF.

And France has continued to innovate the fast food movement with their own creations like Flunch … un self (restaurant où les clients se servent eux-mêmes.) qui s’adapte au Covid en livrant au domicile (a self-service restaurant where clients serve themselves that is adapting to Covid by offering home delivery).

Et pourquoi pas And why not …

Pour finir, une ‘tite chansonette (To conclude, a little song). A good reminder of the days of the week if you need a refresher … and as the title says si tu kiffes le McDo tu vas kiffer cette chanson (if you like McDonald’s you’re going to like this song)!

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


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