English vs French Food

Manuela's picture

I've been living in London since last September and, trust me, the food did not bother me at first. I had my first ever Nandos, and occasionally went to Pizza Hut and Pizza Express (I am not even mentioning the numerous take-aways we have had in my flat but I still get daily promotional emails from many of them). And I am soon to pay a visit to Jamie's Oliver.

However, I like French food; I have realized it now. It is so tasty, expertly prepared and requires an expert knowledge for presentation.

I have heard many critiques of French cooking. First and foremost, every time I mention that I am French, people automatically assume that I come from Paris (wrong guess France is not limited to Paris), and that I eat snails and frog legs (many of my friends even call me frog legs or French-fries knowing that fries are not even French and that English people refer to them as ‘chips'). 

For your information, these are only stereotypes- just as I am aware that English people do not eat fish and chips on a daily basis! However, the cliché I heard about beans on toast was correct (I am afraid), as was the one about tea. I am going to refrain from negative comments, though I have to mention that I mostly buy a sandwich at my university as I am not a fan of English food.

However if you do want to refer to stereotypes about French food do consider the following: baguettes, wine, cheese, omelette, croissants and pain au chocolat (not pain au chocolate as I find it misspelled in English supermarkets sometimes).

Now it is true that French is an arty-cuisine type, which takes care of every minimal detail to make your plate look good. But this is our culture, what we eat must look tasty. If you often criticize French food I may be able to change your mind if you are wiling to follow my advice.

My Guide to French Food

To start with, there is one thing you need to know about French food- every region has its own variety. I come from Provence where the specialty is called Tapenade (below-made with olives) or the salade Niçoise. You should be aware of that if you plan to visit France, quickly Google every region to know what they have to offer.


Again if you are wiling to try something really tasty, I would personally recommend pissaladière (which is an onion, anchovy and olive pizza) or pichade made with confit tomatoes, thyme and vegetables.

In terms of appetizers I would recommend saucisson (below), which is nothing more than sausage.


My favourite dessert is a traditional French cake called Saint Honoré (below) made of pate brisee topped with a ring of cream and dipped in a caramel coating. The cake is filled with cream (crème patissière) and lightened with whipped cream. It tastes heavenly. Other than that I would recommend a Saint Tropez cake, which looks like a custard hamburger, but, trust me, tastes delicious.

Saint Honoré

Excuse this argument over French and English food, but I guess that the French do have high standards about food. We respect local recipes and products. But I guess that we can get good food and bad food in both countries.

Manuela Constantini is a French student currently studying for a degree in Communication Studies at the University of East London. Read more posts by Manuela here.

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