Frenchtitude Lesson #48: If You Can, Take Time To Eat

Settling into a new school is a lot of work. Although this week has been crazy, their new school has been incredibly welcoming and understanding and I must say that my big girls have been extremely courageuses.

However, there is one thing that they are having a hard time adapting to – the North American tendency to rush lunch.

Camille came home from the first day at school saying that she had hardly had time to dip her hard-boiled egg that I had packed her into her salt when they were told it was time to pack up their lunch kits – eating time was over.

Camille just couldn’t get over this – “I was just starting to chat with the girls across from me!” she exclaimed.

In France, of course, lunch – even at at school – is a leisurely two hour affair and the social aspect of sitting down and enjoying food with friends is just as important as the quality of the food itself (which is certainly better than my sad attempts at packed lunches).

Why does our society not value time spent eating?

The situation is the same in all of the other schools here in Canada, and days here certainly seem to be set up – for adults as well as children – so as to allow for very little time for eating. Add to this the number of time I have heard people boasting since I came back of “Being so busy I skipped lunch,” or “Eating a quick sandwich at my desk while I kept working,” and I really do believe that it is a society-wide phenomenon.

Why is NOT taking time to eat and socialize over good food seen as virtuous somehow? Is it that Puritan aversion to anything pleasurable?

I’m still trying to figure this one out, so let me know if you can provide any enlightenment. Camille and I would be very grateful.