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    21 Weird French Food Habits That Always Surprise Americans

    Stinky cheese pour toujours!

    1. Room temperature water.

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    Why are Americans obsessed with iced water? When it's 100°F, I understand, but you guys put 15 ice cubes in your drinks in the middle of January. In France, unless we're in the middle of a heat wave, we drink our water at room temperature and that's also how it's served in restaurants.

    2. Super stinky cheese.

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    I bought a smelly Camembert a few weeks ago and the next day my American roommates had wrapped it in a plastic bag and placed baking soda next to it because it was stinking up the fridge. Which, fair enough. But also, that's the way it's supposed to be! Your cheese should be so smelly that whenever you open the fridge the whole house starts smelling like Eau de Cheese by Stinky de Smell. It should be overpowering. The stinkier the cheese, the better: That's what makes it beautiful and perfect.

    3. The fact that we eat blood sausages.

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    It's called boudin in French. When you really think about the concept of a blood sausage, it's gross, so just push the thought out of your head and try it, because it's actually amazing.

    4. Eating cheese at the end of the meal.

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    In the traditional French meal, you eat cheese after the main course and right before dessert. You usually have at least a couple of cheeses to choose from at home and you eat them with some bread and a green salad. It's the perfect cheesy palate cleanser to the main course.

    5. The fact that we eat snails.

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    Trust me, get past your initial disgust and try this specialty because you'll soon be obsessed. Besides, there is so much butter, parsley, and garlic in those anyway that'll you barely notice the snail.

    6. And also sea snails!

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    Escargots may be the most famous snails French people eat, but they're not the only ones. We also eat bulots, a type of sea snail. Serve them with some mayo and a glass of white wine, and you're set.

    7. Drinking hot coffee in the summer.

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    Iced coffee is simply not a thing in France and everyone drinks their coffee hot whether it's freezing outside or scorching hot.

    8. Fruits for dessert.

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    Is that weird? You tell me. Because I always thought that fruits obviously fell in the dessert category (so do yogurts, by the way) but an American friend told me she thought it was weird that French people would eat a peach after a meal and call it dessert.

    9. Lunch breaks that last at least an hour.


    Decent-length lunch breaks are just a basic human right, if you ask me, and it breaks my heart when I see my American coworkers eat a salad at their desk.

    10. Steak tartare.

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    Because raw beef is the best beef.

    11. Our love for flavored syrup.

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    Flavored syrups (lemon, grenadine, and mint are the most popular flavors) are very popular in France. They're a staple of French summers and you can drink them mixed with water, seltzer, lemonade, milk, or beer.

    12. Ridiculously long meals.

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    During the summer, on Sundays, or during festive evenings, meals can last three to four hours. It often starts with an apéritif, which is a French-style happy hour with light savory snacks and drinks. You then have an appetizer, a main dish, followed by a selection of cheeses with a green salad, before moving on to the desserts and finishing the whole thing with an espresso. It may sound like a lot but our portions are smaller than in the US and we really take our time between each course.

    13. Milk being stored at room temperature.

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    French bottles of milk can be stored at room temperature for weeks and still be good to drink. Once you open the bottle though, it needs to be refrigerated and drank within a few days. That's because French milk is pasteurized at an ultra high temperature.

    14. Getting fresh bread everyday.

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    I don't like confirming clichés, but we do love our baguettes and it's very common to buy one or two every day. You eat about a quarter of it as a snack on your way home from the bakery, and the rest during dinner and with some cheese. It's brilliant.

    15. Being able to stay at a restaurants for hours.

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    French waiters won't bring you the check until you ask for it and will not ask you to leave the table until you decide you're done with it. You can monopolize a table for three hours if you want to.

    16. The number of different cheeses.

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    A few weeks ago, a New Yorker told me there were over 35 types of cheeses at her local supermarket, as if that was a feat. There are over 1,200 varieties of cheeses in France. Each region has its own specialties and there is so much choice that sometimes people from Lille won't have even heard of a cheese that's beloved in Toulouse, and vice versa.

    17. And the number of bakeries.

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    When people ask me where they can buy the best baguette in Paris, I can't really answer because there are hundreds of bakeries in the French capital. (I know where you can buy the best baguette and croissants within a five-minute walk from my old Paris place, though.) There are about a dozen bakeries in every neighborhood and at least one of them produce delicious baguettes that would put New York's best baguettes to shame.

    18. Restaurants that close one or two days a week.


    Many, if not the majority, of French restaurants close at least one day a week, often two days. Most of the time they're closed on Sundays and Mondays, but sometimes it's way more random. Some will close every weekend while others will stay open then but close during two weekdays.

    19. Children eating the same thing as adults.

    While some chain restaurants have children menus, it's not a widespread practice in France. Children eat the same things as adults, especially at home where it wouldn't cross anyone's mind to cook something different for the children and for the grown-ups. This is why many French kids have tried Roquefort and duck breast before they've learned to read.

    20. Bagging our own groceries.

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    If you go to the supermarket in France, you'll have to bag your own groceries. Which is actually great because: 1. You go faster from one customer to the next 2. You can spread the weight however you like.

    21. Drinking coffee and hot chocolate out of bowls.

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    There really isn't any valid explanation for this (except maybe that you get more coffee that way than in a mug?). But we just do it and it's awesome.