Awakening to French Takeaway

Bonjour my friends,

I’ve always been in two minds about takeaway food. I guess I grew up in an organised world where very little was left to chance and meals were carefully planned. There was only one day we digressed from routine and that happened to be on a Friday evening where the theme of catholic abstinence from red meat meant that fish and chips was the only real alternative in an era where the sushi train hadn’t blown its whistle.

I can recall vividly the ink print from thickened newspaper in which the hand cut chips were wrapped and there was no light seasoning of parsley and garlic that some gourmet places offer today. The smell of heavy salt and tangy lemons which had been cut into large quarters (lemons like everything else was so big back then!) nestled happily amongst fresh, thickly battered fish. The smell alone was unforgettable. Friday night fish and chips sometimes went hand in hand with a block of Cadbury’s Caramello chocolate for dessert (well it HAD to be Caramello as the commercial went…) Who remembers this ad on telly?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtMv4N9rN8c

The Caramello Block was evenly distributed by someone reliable and fair while the entire family watched television together. They were glorious evenings spent together and no one relegated themselves to some wee corner of the house with their own high tech gadget speaking a different language.

On other days our kitchen savoured great cooking and healthy eating which meant no takeaway bringing too salty, too sugary, too fatty, MSG and other additive enriched food oozing inconspicuously in today’s takeaway institutions. I guess I never grew an appreciation for this type of  food especially those which offered gimmicky toys and collector plastics.

It was not until I travelled to France when I discovered that good takeaway (and heavenly at the same time) could be purchased cheaply and quickly, savoured as much as home cooked or restaurant food and be a miraculous alternative when travelling across France.

My french awakening has come to the conclusion that quality is paramount in French takeaway food but I want you to be the judge of that. Allow me to show you some dishes I’ve purchased, photographed and eaten all for the cause from French supermarkets in the suburbs of Paris and beyond.

Here we have a delicious seafood paella which was purchased straight out of a brewing caldron…

I’ve bought many varieties of delicious sizzling seafood and beef casseroles and cold meats from the back section of any fresh food supermarket not to mention fab cheeses and crackers and even dirt cheap wines for as little as 2 euro!

While travelling through France, don’t be hesitant in wandering through French supermarkets. You’ll be able to pick up substantial meals at a fraction of the cost of a takeaway meal back home- and definately more appetitising! Each day offers different hot foods. Each a surprise. Take it all for a fun picnic under the Eiffel Tower perhaps. You may recall https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/01/29/awaken-to-the-eiffel-tower/

In the warmer months, salads can be bought over the counter like my salmon salad for instance…

Walk around a typical French supermarket and here’s a sample of things you could purchase, like these finds for breakfast or morning tea… Quetsches are plums by the way and makes a lovely jam!

Aromatic French tea and coffee,baguettes, jams, mustards and other condiments are offered here and are expensive elsewhere. This means you can have your own little French breakfast (petit dejeuner) such as https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/awaken-to-jam-recipes-and-french-breakfasts/ and relive France in your kitchen back home.

The Carrefour Group of supermarkets in particular, support French producers of fruit and vegetables. It’s very easy to spot French products now with the use of  little red, white and blue flags to draw attention to their own products. Perhaps we should do the same thing here?

The kiddiwinks and the young at heart however may dart into this aisle for an introduction into cereals and chocolate treats for making hot chocolate for instance.

I bought home quite a few boxes of French drinking chocolate for the kids from this aisle! Go into the sweets aisle and you’ll be hard pressed to come out alive if you don’t buy them French nougat and chocolate!

Supermarkets have an oasis of French products for you to purchase at half the cost. You can pick up your gifts to take home to family and friends across the globe and they will LOVE you for it!

We bought truffle wine and foie gras here too for the foodie in the family. (Moi!)

The diary aisle will entice you with a fresh array of heavenly cakes and custard desserts if there is no patisserie open. These were delectable and cost 3.50 euro for both- one for me and one for the driver. I call them ‘Heaven In Motion”!

There are well established gourmet food halls in Paris as you already know at https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/awakening-to-paris-gourmet/

which is a cook or chef’s delight, but the humble supermarket can give you results economically and quickly. Ther’es something to be said in trying to be local (when you’re not).

And yes, I like takeaway food in France. Do you? What have you experienced?

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

copyright@2011 Therese Waddell

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4 Responses to “Awakening to French Takeaway”

  1. I had the most delicious crepe from a street vendor in the latin quarter on my one and only trip to Paris. It was better than any takeaway I’ve ever had at home!

    • Hey Mrs Mouse,
      Lovely to hear from you! Yes, the crepes at the vendors are wonderful that’s true. Taking them to a nearby park to devour is even better. I can taste them already- you’ve made me miss them!
      Hope everything is ok now with Mr Mouse and he’s made a full recovery. I’m looking forward to your fabulous postings too! best wishes, Therese

  2. Why didn’t I take pictures in Carrefour? Doh! France is the one place I love shopping for food all the reasons you mention, even their ‘fast food; is slow, laid back and relaxed. This time last week I was enjoying the taste of a Foret Noir after the most incredible seafood pasta dish I’ve evet tasted from a supermarket bought after being seduced by the smoked garlic and all the other goodies on offer for bringing home at the end of our hols, now fully stocked up on jams, mustards, chocolate goodies and a variety of bread flours until we return in the autumn. This trip I found the drink syrups that use the herb Stevia as a natural sweetener so far my favourite is the Coconut & Pineapple flavour, 0 cals and 0% sugar and delicious. I started blooging about my hols this afternoon, lots to share but more from a herbal slant, if you’re interested.

    I’ve been slowly working through your delightful blog Therese for the past few days, I found your La Vie En Rose post whilst looking up info on Edith Piaf, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Although I can’t do patchwork to save my life, I’d love to make soemthing as beautiful. I came back from France this time with some new cross stitch mags and books and I’m working on some French themed x-stitch card designs for xmas. Your Carrefour photos have made my mouth water and hanker for my next visit which fingers crossed will be in November!

  3. Arhh Debs it’s so nice to get wonderful feedback like this! Sometimes I feel I’m just sending words into the chasm of cyber space! I’m very grateful to you and always very interested in the knowledge of others ( besides their humor and beautiful spirit). Good luck in your endeavors and your pursuit of quality. Also dont be too hard on yourself… Putting together some fabric to make a quilt is easy. You should try it one day! Thanks so much again and keep reading when you get a chance, Best wishes, Therese

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