Welcome to the first in a series. In this post, I’m focusing on French junk food. Yes, you read right, and judge me not. I hear you: But the bread, the cheese, the open markets full of bread and cheese! Sure, Paris is undoubtedly the place to find incredible fresh food and exquisite gourmet delicacies not born in a factory. I partake of all those things. But there are plenty of bloggers out there writing about that kind of food. Where you gonna find someone willing to get real about the guilty pleasures of junk?
But let me make this clear: this is not just any junk food; we’re talking about French junk food here. It’s special. It would have to be, because I’m anything but a junk food junkie. In New York, I eschew the stuff. But the sophisticated French palate extends to the snacks, elevating them to a new level. What’s commonplace in France is gourmet in the U.S. Those crackers at my local Franprix: €1.99; the same thing at Dean & Deluca in NYC: $20.
In fact, my obsession with French products has me spending 150% more time in their grocery stores than I ever would in my own country where my M.O. is get in, get out. In Paris, I actually enjoy grocery shopping; it’s a form of entertainment, and I admittedly spend my time largely fondling products I have no intention of buying. Can’t help myself; it’s all so fascinating—the flavors, the varieties, the packaging. Especially, the packaging.
The snacks aisle is probably the most compelling because the pop food culture of a people is the most immediately telling. The chips and crackers are more savory; the cookies and candy, more complex and luscious. It’s hard not to be tempted by the unique and sometimes curious snack products on the shelves. Call me a food adventurer, like that guy on the Travel Channel. Ok, I probably won’t be eating bull testicles or curried worms anytime soon, but I’ll give cheeseburger-flavored potato chips a try. Given the chemicals involved, I might be the braver person.
These are a few of my favorite (snack) things. What are yours?
Yes, that’s right: Roast Chicken and Cheeseburger flavor. How do they taste? I have to say, they are delicious, with flavor so true to the real thing, you could even taste the pickle on the cheeseburger. I don’t know how they do it—and I don’t want to know.
Delicate Rose Biscuits, in elegant packaging—just hanging out in the ol’ cookie aisle like so much Keebler. The plastic packet, top right, contains rose biscuit dust to use in baking, or just inhale.
These are ridiculous and I have no problem admitting I eat them from time to time. (Amelie did, why not me?) Normally, I’m all over the chocolate tarts, but I’ve just discovered the chocolate-caramel version. This stuff is as good as anything home baked (by me).