I recently found myself talking to another American about her upcoming vacances. She would be renting a large country home with two other French couples and their children - friends of her kids. The adults had recently had a meeting about the logistics of the holiday together, and she - the lone American - remained baffled / annoyed by the discussion over the details of the petit déjeuner - breakfast.

Frenchie mom 1 - so what do your kids take for the petit déjeuner? Ils déjeunent avec quoi?

American mom - what do you mean?

Frenchie mom 1 - I mean, what do they eat? What do they drink? For example, my little Jean-Baptiste has chocolat-chaud and a tartine.  Amandine has jus d'orange and Chocopix céréales.

Frenchie mom 2 - oui! and Mattias just likes un verre de lait and Nutella on a baguette.

American mom - Yeah, well my kids like that stuff too. Sometimes they have hot chocolate and sometimes they have just milk, sometimes they eat tartines and sometimes they have cereal - it depends how they feel that morning and what we have in the cupboards.

Frenchie mom 2 - You mean...they don't eat the same thing every day?

American mom - Uhhh...no. We decide in the moment. Depending on what we are in the mood for. 

But here's the thing - this is a pretty crazy concept for the Frenchies, and I didn't really realize it until my fellow American relayed this conversation to me!  Now I understand why every time I go to see my beaux-parents (inlaws) with Copain, Belle-Mère asks me what I take for my petit-déjeuner.

Belle Mère - Tu prends quoi comme boisson? (What do you drink?)

Me - Uh, un grand café. (A big coffee)

Belle Mère - et tu manges quoi? (What do you eat?)

Me - well, what do you have?

This throws her totally off guard - she has lots of things, but she wants to know what I eat so that she can make it available. I (being the go-with-the-flow, eat-whatever-for-breakfast American that I am), want to be an easy houseguest...but by not responding to the question, I make life harder for her without even realizing it.

Usually the conversation continues by her listing out all of the things that she has, and by me saying, yeah, those are all fine.  Then she gets exasperated and I tell her that I will decide in the morning. 

Who knew that breakfast could be so controversial.

1 comment:

  1. Now you won't wonder why my mother in law ask us, when we are eating our breakfast, what we want to have for lunch AND dinner ;-)


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