Documenting some French habits that seem strange to a mere Malaysian like me:
①Using a Scotch-brite sponge to wash dishes AND wipe down tabletops and counters
You know what a Scotch-brite sponge is right? It’s the sponge with a yellow soft sponge side and the other is the harder, dark green side. So, before I came to France I’ve always used this sponge to wash my dishes; the yellow side for plates and things that can be easily cleaned and the green side for harder scrubs. But over here, they use this same sponge to wash the dishes AND wipe the table after each meal. I have to say, it’s quite efficient as the sponge absorbs most of the liquids on the table easily but it still makes me kinda queasy to think that the same sponge is used to clean the table AND the cutleries which I put into my MOUTH. But I just try not to think about it. When in Rome, I guess.
②Not snacking between meals
I think this is definitely the reason why most French girls are slim. You may think it’s all about discipline and self-control but French people have a leg up because they were taught to do this from a young age. You’re always hungry right before mealtimes, and during each meal, you can eat to your heart’s content, but no snacking. I try to practise this but always fail due to my slack schedule and tendency to grab something sweet during my mid afternoon slump.
③Eating chocolate with sliced brioche like this:
④Plucking flowers off trees on the side of the road and adding them into pancakes
These are acacia flowers plucked from the sides of the road by le bf. It’s his mum’s recipe and apparently it’s a legit thing to do and people cook it like this all over Italy. By the way, the flowers were not mashed up or anything, you fried them whole so you could taste each delicious flower petal. They kind of smell like jasmine to me.
⑤Eating cakes with a spoon
Over here, you eat every kind of cake / tart / dessert with a spoon. I find that instinctively weird for several reasons: Spoons sometimes scoop up too much sauce than intended, spoons lack the grip that I need to hold on to my piece of dessert, spoons require you to taste the bottom of the spoon every time you put a spoonful in your mouth hence affecting the experience, when you cut a bite with a spoon you leave a curve. Therefore, in conclusion, forks are the much better option. I found out through conversations with friends that they use spoons in the US too, but forks triumph in Asian countries.
⑥Stacking plates on top of one another when eating
I’m not even talking about saucers here. So when you eat a meal in a French home, when you’re done with the main course, your plate with whatever leftovers stay on the table, and your dessert plate goes ON TOP of the main dish plate, and you eat your dessert like that. Bravo, it makes the bottom of your plates dirty and now you gotta clean the other side, too. But I have to say that most of the time their main dish plates are usually not dirty because they use their bread as a sponge to “clean” up all the remaining sauces on the plate, leaving a sparkling one.
⑦Placing bread on the table instead of on a plate
And get crumbs all over! At home, I try not to get crumbs or anything to drip outside of my plate but here, you can party all over that surface. And after every meal at my home it does always look like a party happened but it’s OK because then we use our Scotch-Brite to absorb and wipe them up.