Category Archives for "Food"


15 School Lunches Around The World That Might Freak You Out!

15 school lunches around the world

Would your kids eat goulash soup or mussels for lunch? What about seaweed? Depending on what country you are in, these are things regularly served to kids at school. Here are actual photos of school meals from 15 countries around the world. You may be surprised.

 15 school lunches around the world

After living in the US and Canada as a child and seeing what my own children ate for lunch at school in California, I am all too aware of just how bad school lunches can be. A veritable revolving door of unhealthy fast-food, burritos, tacos, pizzas and enchiladas. Some schools even have onsite McDonald’s’ and taco bell: YUCK!

But not all countries have such unsavoury institutionalized school lunches for school aged children. Take for instance what my daughter ate at her preschool while living in France. On the other end of the spectrum are school lunches in lesser developed countries like in Kenya where some kids only get a bowl of fresh avocados.

Below are photos of actual cafeteria lunches and descriptions of 15 school lunches from around the world.

1- USA

school lunces around the world/ US school Lunch: enchiladas, rice and beans

Photo Source:

Menu: Enchiladas with beans, rice, fresh strawberries and milk.

This American school meal actually does not look too bad. It’s pretty typical for schools to serve Mexican inspired dishes like this one.

Milk is almost always served in U.S. schools.  Unfortunately the variety served at the schools my children went to in the U.S. were usually a rotating menu of burgers, burrito, pizzas, tacos. They even served McDonald’s burgers at school.

2- Japan:

school lunces around the world/ Japan: childrens school lunch

Photo Source

Pre-school Lunch: Rice w/konbu (a sweet seaweed), nikkujagga (beef with veggies), omelets, sausage, potato puff, and apple.
Source: Jevinj

This is a school Lunch at a pre-school in Japan where the kids range in age from 1-6yrs old. This pictures one of the “teachers” lunches which is exactly the same as the kids meals except with smaller portions.

I actually love seaweed on rice so this looks good to me. Espeically Konbu in onigiri. mmmmm

3- China school lunch

school lunces around the world/ China: Childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: Tofu, rice and vegetables.

Tofu would never be served in a school in the U.S. I grew up eating tofu and absolutely love it.

4- Brazil:

school lunces around the world/ Brasil: Childrens school lunch

Photo Source

Contents: Rice, Beans, Bread, Meat with vegetables, banana and alface, acelga salad

This looks like it could be a home cooked meal to me. Pretty good. I wonder what kids from Brazil think of this.

5- Taiwan elementary School Lunch:

school lunces around the world/Taiwan: childrens school lunch

Photo Source

Menu: On the left: mushroom and minced pork, in the middle: Chinese chives stir fry with tempura, on the right: eggplant (probably stir fry), soup with radish and pork, and steamed white rice.

6- Ghana elementary school lunch

school lunces around the world/Ghana: childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: Looks like rice with some kind of sauce. Maybe protein?

This doesn’t look like much compared to what eastern kids eat.

7- Thailand

school lunces around the world/Thailand: childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: Sautéed chicken over rice.

I am sure whatever this is, it is probably pretty tasty.

8- Czech Republic elementary school lunch

school lunces around the world/Czech: childrens school lunch

Photo source

Most of the kids eat at school canteens (it’s convenient and cheaper for their parents).

The lunch usually consists of a soup and a main course. Usually there is a salad or some sort of fruit along with something sweet for desert. There is always tea and water with sweet syrup on tap and cacao if sweet buns are for lunch.

9- Sudan school lunch

school lunces around the world/sudan: childrens school lunch

photo source – udith Kaine

I’m not really sure what this is? Maybe it’s rice or corn paste?

This photo kind of shocked me.

10- Kenya Pre-school lunch

school lunces around the world/Kenya childrens school lunch

Photo source

This meal of avocados may look measly but it is very nutritious. The fats from the avocado are invaluable, especially in a country where malnutrition is so widespread.

11- India: elementary school lunch

school lunces around the world/India, childrens school lunch

Photo source =

Menu: This is probably a rice and curry dish.

It’s not uncommon for kids in India to eat on the ground outside. And yes, kids in India eat with their hands.

UPDATE** one of my readers pointed something out to me. Harleena said…

“this is the scene in most of the village schools only, where kids eat with their hands, either because there lack of education or they can’t afford. The ones in the cities are pretty different and most kids carry their own tiffin and there’s a lot of options to choose from, which are again healthy and nutritious. Some schools have a proper canteen as it’s an easier option for parents – so there’a a lot of different kinds.”

12- U.K. school lunch

school lunces around the world/UK, childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: hamburger and grated carrots

13- Honduras school lunch

school lunces around the world/Honduras, childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: Arroz Con Leche (Rice with milk).

You can eat it cold or hot and it is often seasoned with cinnamon and vanilla.

14- France school lunch

school lunces around the world/France, childrens school lunch

photo source

Menu: Chicken, potatoes, cheese, salad and desert with water.

school lunces around the world/France, childrens school lunch

photo source

Moules et Frites: Mussels and fries

I had to post a second photo of a school lunch in Francce because this dish is served quite often.

It has been served to my pre-schooler as well as my two teenage sons at school.

A thing to note about French school meals.

Milk is never served. Instead cheese or yogurt is ALWAYS served. Water is the only beverage served to kids.

There is always a vegetable and fruit option along with a desert and bread option.

French fries are shown here because Mussels and fries are a very popular dish in France. Especially in the south of France. Other than that, fries are not served very often.

15- Some Kids Go Hungry At Lunch

school lunces around the world/hungry-kids

It’s a proven fact that children cannot concentrate in class, especially in the afternoon, on an empty stomach.  Unfortunately some children are too poor and can’t eat lunch. This isn’t just in places like Uganda or other third world countries. it’s happening in first world countries too including poor sections of the U.S.

Are You Interested In Learning More

what's for lunch: how schoolchildren eat around the world book

If you are interested in learning more about what schoolchildren eat around the world, you should check out this book called What’s for Lunch?

In What’s for Lunch, Andrea Curtis talks about inequality in the food eaten by a typical school child from thirteen countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Kenya, Russia, Japan, United States, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

In some countries, the meals are nutritious and well-balanced. In others they barely satisfy basic nutrition standards.

photo source for main photo.

photos of what people eat in one week around the world

Discover What People Eat Around The World In One Week?: Photos Will Shock You

photos of what people eat in one week around the world

Think you know what other people eat around the world? Take a look at how much and how little the rest of the world eats compared to your country. You just might be surprised!

Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, a husband and wife team from California travelled to 24 countries around the world photographing and documenting what 30 families eat during the course of one week.

Hungry Planet: what people eat around the world in 1 week. This clever couple put their findings in a book called Hungry Planet: What The World Eats.

Each of the families profiled in the book include detailed interviews, a description of their weekly food purchases, their favourite foods and photos of them in the market and at home surrounded by a weeks worth of groceries and more.

I have pulled together a a selection of those images from the book below. 

North America

United States- North Carolina

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: USA

Food Cost 1 week: $341.98
Favorite food: spaghetti, potatoes, chicken with sesame seeds

*MY COMMENT: 2 pizzas, 3 bags of chips in a week?  Where are the veggies other than 2 tomatoes? This cannot be how most Americans eat can it?

Canada- Nunavut Territory

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Canada

Food expenditure for one week: US$345
Favorite Foods: narwhal, polar bear, extra cheese stuffed crust pizza, watermelon

*COMMENT: Their favourite food is polar bear? Whoa! My family is from Canada and I don’t remember eating polar bear?
At least they have some produce and fish.  

Central America


What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Mexico

Food Cost 1 week:1 862.78 Mexican pesos or $189.09
Favorite food: pizza, crab, pasta, chicken

*MY COMMENT: This is better. Lots and lots of fruits but check out all the coke on the back table. Holy coke-a-moly!

South America

Ecuador- Tingo:

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Ecuador

Food Cost 1 week: $31.55
Family recipe: Potato soup with cabbage

*MY COMMENT : Humbling, notice all the bananas or Plantanes and bags of grain and potatoes and the lack of processed stuff.


United Kingdom: Cllingbourne Ducis

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Uk

Food Cost 1 week: 155.54 British Pounds or $253.15
Favourite foods: avocado, mayonnaise sandwich, prawn cocktail, chocolate fudge cake with cream

*MY COMMENT : Not many vegetables or fruits looks mostly processed and they said one of their favourite foods is mayonnaise sandwich? Please tell me that’s a pseudonym for something else.

Germany: Bargteheide

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Germany

Food Cost 1 week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Favourite foods: fried potatoes with onions, bacon and herring, fried noodles with eggs and cheese, pizza, vanilla pudding

*MY COMMENT : I see lots of leafy greens along with beer and wine. Where are the sausages and curry wurst?

France: Montreuil

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: France

Food expenditure for one week: 315.17 euros or $419.95
Favorite Foods: Delphine Le Moine’s Apricot Tarts, pasta carbonara, Thai food

*MY COMMENT : Looks about right. Notice the Nutella way in the back. No milk. Lots of yoghurt and cheese but seriously where are the baguettes? I do not know one French person who does not eat baguettes at least once a week. Makes me wonder.


Africa: Chad

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Africa

Food Cost 1 week: 685 CFA francs, or $1.23
Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat

*MY COMMENT : I had to stare at this photo for a very long time. I feel totally humbled by this image. Is that all the water they drink in one week between all of them? I see the grains and maybe rice but they have not fruits veggies? Is this really enough to sustain them or is it that we ( the rest of the world) eat too much?

Egypt: Cairo

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Egypt

Food Cost 1 week: 387.85 Egyptian pounds, or $68.53
Family recipe: Okra and mutton

*MY COMMENT : Wow, this looks amazingly good and healthy. Lots of veggies and fruits and hardly any carbs at all. 

Australia: Riverview

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Australia

Food Cost 1 week: 481 Australian dollars, or $376

Family Recipe: Marge Brown’s Quandong (an Australian peach) Pie, Yoghurt

*MY COMMENT :Lots of water. Makes sense. It’s hot in Australia. A good mix of meat, beans and fruit. Still seems like a lot of processed food in the back on top of the stove. Where is the Vegemite?


China: Beiijing

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: China

Food Cost 1 week: 1 233.76 yuan, or $155.06
Favorite foods: fried shredded pork with sweet and sour sauce

*MY COMMENT : What’s interesting is that this family has the smallest amount of veggies on the table after the Americans who had 2 whole tomatoes.  No veggies although they do consume lots of fruits.

Japan: Kodaira

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Japan

Food Cost 1 week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Favorite foods: sashimi, fruit, cake, potato chips

*MY COMMENT : Check out all the pre-packaged foods on the floor. Notice very little red meat and chicken. Mostly fish. mmmmm.

South Asia:

Bhutan:  Shingkhey Village

What People Eat In One Week Around The World: Bhutan

Food Cost 1 week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Family recipe: Mushroom, cheese and pork

*MY COMMENT : Lots of greens, fruits and look at that big bag probably filled with rice.


What people eat around the world varies family to family of course but there is something to be said about these eye opening photos.

The western world in general eats a lot of processed foods. Cereals, bread, chips, sodas etc. Many families don’t eat enough greens, vegetables or fruits. Even parts of Asia seemed to consume a large amount of processed foods.

In other countries where these processed foods are perhaps less readily available, or perhaps just because of cultural reasons, more fresh produce is eaten like in South East Asia, Egypt and Africa.

What about you?

If we were to take a picture of what you and your family ate in a week, what would it look like? Would it have more processed foods, more fruits, more veggies or a mix?

Ours would have a lot of broccoli, apples, mangoes and oranges along with a big bag of rice and some meat. We rarely eat potato and don’t drink soda except when we go out to a restaurant once in a while.

Pick up a copy of the whole book at Amazon loaded with way more interesting photos and detailed interviews. This is a great book to share with the kids too. 

Hungry Planet: What The World Eats

book-hungry-planet-world-the world eats


10 countries where you're not expected to tip

It’s Rude To Tip In Japan: + 10 Countries Where You Dont Need To Tip: Tipping Guide

10 countries where you're not expected to tip

American and Canadian eaters are accustomed to adding 15% to 20% on to the total restaurant bill before taxes. The wait staff often rely on these tips because their base pay is FAAAAR below the minimum wage. Overseas however, this is not always the case. Here are 10 countries where you are not expected to tip either because the tip is already included or because the wait staff is making a livable wage..

10 Countries Where You Don’t Need To Tip

Tipping in your home country is confusing enough as it is but when you travel it can get even more confusing. A few small coins left behind at a restaurant might be considered polite by the wait staff in a restaurant in France but the same amount left in a restaurant in China is down right rude. Here are 10 countries where you may not need to tip in a restaurant. Use it as a guide but always make sure you do your own research before travelling.

It may be considered rude in these countries to tip

tipping in Japan is not customary1-Japan-Be careful not to tip at restaurants in Japan, it could be construed as an insult. The general ideology is that the wait staff works for the restaurant as a team and if a customer enjoys their visit than they will return to the restaurant again, refer others and bring more business.  I guess you could say, your gratitude and repeat business is all the tip they need.

Exception: I have been to some restaurants in Tokyo who received a lot of tourists and understood that some foreigners tip.  In these rare cases, tipping is accepted but not expected.

2-China- Generally you don’t need to leave a tip. Just like Japan, it can be considered rude in some places.

3- South Korea-Generally tipping is considered rude here too. The exception is in some hotels where a service or tip is automatically added to the bill.

The tip is usually already included in the bill in these countries

In many countries, it is not wrong to tip.  In fact the wait staff will be very happy to receive a tip from you. However, these countries do not expect you to tip because the tip is already included on the bill.

Check your bill, you may see an extra 10% or more (maybe less) added as a service fee or tip. If you still feel like leaving a tip behind because the food or service was amazing then go ahead. Just round up and or leave the change behind.

If you are still feeling unsure, just ask.

4- Malaysia-Tipping is not expected but appreciated.

5- Hong Kong-Generally there is no tipping in Hong Kong but, because Hong Kong is becoming so westernized, they are used to being tipped and even appreciate it.

6-Vietnam-Tipping is not customary in Vietnam but is slowly becoming more common especially in touristy spots like Hanoi.

7- New Zealand-Tipping at restaurants in New Zealand is not widespread however if you get exceptional service and feel like it, you can leave around a 10% tip.

8- Australia-No need to tip but if you do decide to leave a tip, just round up, it will be much appreciated

9-Thailand-A tip is not expected but it is appreciated. Don’t leave a percentage but rather leave 10 baht or 20 baht and call it a day.

10- Italy-Throughout most of Italy, it’s not common practice for Italians to leave a tip but it can be appreciated. If you do leave a tip, do it when  you get exceptional service and forget the rules back home of leaving 15 to 20 percent. Instead round up to the nearest whole number or leave the change. If a café is 1 Euros 60 centimes, leave 40 centimes on the table as a tip.

The waiters and restaurants in the tourista meccas- Venice, Florence or Rome have grown so accustomed to foreigners leaving tips that I hear they half expect tips now. But just remember, a cover charge is usually already added to your bill so check it and don’t feel obliged to leave a tip.

11-Bonus- France-In France there is already a VAT (value added tax) tacked on to your bill. You usually find it at the end of the bill marked as TVA (taxe sur le valeur ajoute). For this reason it is not necessary to leave a tip but it is customary to leave a little something by rounding up on your bill.. If you pay by credit card you may not be able to leave a tip using your card so be sure to always have some one euro coins in your pocket to leave behind as a small tip of appreciation.


Just because you don’t tip in restaurants in these countries doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tip the taxi driver or barber in those same countries.

My advice to you when planning your trips is to  please, please, please…. do a little research on the tipping customs of that country. Here are a few service related things to do research for….

  • restaurants
  • hotel staff
  • taxi’s
  • tour guides
  • Spa and resort staff
  • even hair dressers and barbers

Trust me, it’s really embarrassing or rather stressful to receive your bill in a foreign country and not know how much is too much or too little, or whether you should leave a tip at all.

photo source: Japanese restaurant bill

CRISPS-CHIPS-ROASTED-CHICKE saveur poulet rôti et thym

Even Potato Chips Are Gourmet in France. Introducing Roasted Chicken and Thyme Crisps

CRISPS-CHIPS-ROASTED-CHICKEN saveur poulet rôti et thym


Forget cheese flavoured Doritos or spicy Cheetos that stain your fingers orange.

Lays Potato chips in France sound like something served in a four star French restaurant.

Enter ….“Chips Saveur Poulet Rôti Et Thym

They taste like the name implies, “Roasted Chicken and Thyme”.

The next time you visit France, give them a try. Maybe even pair it with a nice glass of Rosé.

I think Catherine likes them.

What do you think of French potato chips?


10 Reasons Why French Women Don’t Get Fat: Or Is It A Big Fat LIE!

french women don't get fat

Maybe you’ve heard: French Women Don’t Get Fat! But is it true and if so how does this nation of cheese eating, wine drinking people stay relatively thin? Especially the women?

French Women Don’t Get Fat! Is There Scientific Proof?

The belief that French people don’t get fat is so strong and so widely believed that some scientists have studied this phenomenon to try to understand how a nation that eats more cheese and drinks more wine per capita than the average developed nation isn’t  more overweight.

There are books written about the FRENCH WAY OF EATING like the popular book “French Women Don’t Get Fatand there are even recipe and diet books based on the “French Diet”.

The answer I believe is not in the French DNA but rather in the attitudes and habits the French have with regards to food.

My Personal Experience

On any given day my husband Blake and I can take a walk around France to local shops and Bistros and find middle-aged couples leisurely walking around.  Nothing really extraordinary except for the lack of flabby limbs and pudgy waists.

The younger French people tend to be even more thin and appear very athletic. Which is even odder since the French are not known for frequenting the gym like many Americans and Canadians do.

I can literally go weeks maybe months before I spot a Fat, overweight French woman.  When I say fat, I don’t mean chunky or curvy. I mean obese to the point that it’s probably hazardous to their health. 

First The Fat Facts

Before I go into the why,  let me first give you some facts.

In 2007, Forbes magazine published an article ranking the worlds fattest countries; 198 countries in total were ranked. The article published these numbers based on (WHO) the World Health Organization.  The report reflected the percentage of that country’s population over the age of 15 that was overweight.

*NOTE: The WHO’s definitions of “overweight” and “obese” are based on an individual’s body mass index (BMI), which measures weight relative to height. Overweight is marked by a BMI greater than or equal to 25 and obese is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

In this report, the United States was ranked 9th fattest nation out of 198. Yes 9th. (screeeeeeeeeech, record scratch). 74% of the American population is considered overweight (BMI > 25). Compare that to France which was ranked 128th fattest nation with 40% of the adult population overweight.

That’s a huge drop don’t you think?  Even more alarming is when you compare the ranking of Americans  to Asian nations.  Thailand, China and Japan all with 30% or less of their populations overweight.  The Asian diet is another story and I would love to talk about their food and culture but today we are only looking at the French diet.

Take a look at the partial table below which lists some countries in order of fat rank. It is a partial list, you can see the full list of 198 countries ranking by clicking here.

FAT Rank
(# / 198)


% Of Population
Overweight= BMI >25

#9 United States 74%
#16 Greece 69%
#19 Mexico 68%
#21 Australia 67%
#28 United Kingdom 64%
#35 Canada 61%
#83 Spain 52%
#88 Brazil 51%
#128 France 40% Why aren’t they at 75% like Americans or 61% like Canadians?
#144 Thailand 30%
#148 China 29%
#163 Japan 23%
#193 Ethiopia 6%

The French Secret To Staying Thin

Why is it that the French appear so thin and so healthy compared to other countries but especially when compared to Americans in the U.S., a nation obsessed with diets and health clubs?

If you have ever spent any length of time in France than the answer to this question may be clear to you but to everyone else, it must seem puzzling.  Once you hear the reasons you will nod your head and immediately understand how the French stay relatively thin given their diet of rich foods.

Grocery Shopping

Let’s take a look at how the average person shops for groceries. In the U.S. and in Canada, you can walk into any grocery store and be faced with aisle upon aisle of chips, soda pop, Twinkies (edit: not any more because their discontinued), sugar-coated cereals and an abundance of other unhealthy snack foods.

Yes these unhealthy choices exist in France but there are two noticeable differences, Portion and Selection.

1- PORTION: Unhealthy snacks are sold in tiny servings that would probably make an American scoff and think they were getting ripped off. You don’t see huge bags of Doritos, or Costco sized coco puffs.

2- SELECTION / QUANTITY: In France the selection and the quantities of flab inducing, stomach bulging foods and snacks are minuscule in comparison to the aisles upon aisles dedicated to these types of food in the U.S. and Canada. A recent trip to the UK didn’t prove any better either..

Instead of aisles dedicated to coke and pop, anther aisles dedicated to chips and another aisle dedicated to cookies, you’ll find a smaller percentage of French grocery stores dedicated to these types of unhealthy choices. In fact, it can be pretty hard to find the junk food.

Portion size and availability of unhealthy snacks only scratches the surface as to “WHY”.

10 Secrets Revealed: “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat”

Through lots of reading and by actually living in France for several years, I’ve witnessed first hand some of the reasons why French woman are able to stay relatively thin. Below are 10 simple explanations which anyone can incorporate into their way of eating. I know they seem silly or easy but they work. Sorry, there is no magic pill to be thin either.

1- Slow Down: The French eat very slowly. You’ve probably heard that by eating more slowly, you give your brain time to catch up to your stomach.

When eating at some of the Bistros here in France, I definitely notice that people sit much longer for lunch. They stop and talk to one another in between bites. Put there fork down in between bites. Drink some wine in between bites and then talk some more in between bites. The whole meal can take up to an hour to eat easily.

One of my son’s who is 14 noticed the same thing at the French school he attends. French children are not given a mere 45 minutes to eat but close to 2 hours to eat compared to the US where they were given barely 40 minutes to eat their lunch. According to my son, on average, his friends take closer to 40 minutes to finish their meals.

2- Eat Smaller Portions: There is no super size me in France. French restaurant portions are noticeably smaller.  Meat and fish portions would be considered tiny by American standards. One easy way for you to cut your portion size is use a smaller diner plate and don’t go back for seconds.

3- Don’t snack: I know that a lot of diets in the U.S. say you should snack but here in France, snacking is virtually unheard of. No bag of chips, no granola bars in between. It’s just not common place.

4- Eat breakfast: The French usually eat 3 meals and never skip a meal not even breakfast.  Breakfast is not like a typical American or English breakfast. No stacks of piping hot pancakes, with a side of bacon and eggs. It’s juice, maybe some toast, an apple or nuts. So don’t skip breakfast just eat lighter healthier in the morning.

5- Little to no processed foods: I already mentioned that walking down the food isles in the U.S.  and Canada is like walking down a cornucopia of packaged and processed fatty foods. Not in France. Sure there are processed food but now where near as much as there is in the US and Canada but I have yet to find whole aisles dedicated to coke. So skip the process packaged foods and stock up on healthier choices.

6- More Fish, Fruits and vegetables: The French eat less meat and more fresh fruits, veggies and fish and so should you. This is just common sense, need I say more?

7- Be more active: What I find amazing is that the French stay so lean but don’t have gyms at every corner like there are in the US. Instead, the French are more active. More outdoor activities, more walking. This is good news for all you people who hate the gym. Try to be more active and walk more. Everyday if you can.

8- Drink red wind: Aaaaah Yeah!!!!!. It’s true that the French drink more wine. The numbers don’t lie and neither do my eyes. While dining out in France, I do notice that more people partake in a glass of wine than in the U.S. or Canada.  In the Groceries store too; I see much more people buying wine at the checkout than in the U.S. or Canada.

(wine is very inexpensive in France compared to elsewhere).

The reason why wine is good for weight loss or weight control is because it contains an antioxidant compound found in the grape skins called resveratrol. It’s not only great as an aid in weight loss but also overall good health. Cheers and you are welcome!

9- Eat yogourt and cheese: What is interesting is that in the U.S. and Canada, milk is almost forced down our children’s throats but here in France it’s not served to school children ever. Instead they get cheese or yogourt with each meal. At primary school in France, my daughter was not eating cheddar cheese because many French people say it’s not “real cheese”. Instead they are served Brie, camembert, compte, Tomme Noir, emmental and a bunch of other cheeses that most Americans don’t even know exist.  The amount of cheese the kids eat is not a huge portion but it can be filling.

On the days when cheese is not served, yogourt is served instead. Not sugary Danon yogourt or that funky kiddy gogurt. It’s real yogourt. 

10. Hydrate with water: The French hydrate with water and hydrate often.  I already mentioned that the kids don’t get milk at school.  Yes do get juice on occasion but the kids always get water.

Final Thoughts

French diet books

If you were thinking about dieting to lose those last 10 pounds then give the French way of eating a try. The best thing about the French way of eating is it is painless and it’s yet another reason why you would love to live in France. At least, I keep telling myself that.

strange table manners from around the world

7 Strange Table Manners Around The World: Burping, Farting+

7 strange table manners around the world, burping, farting, slurping and more

We all like to think we have good table manners but what you consider appropriate table manners may actually be considered rude in another country and vice versa! let’s explore some strange table manners around the world.

Why Bother With Table Manners When You Travel To Other Countries?

SLURP…SLURP….SLURP!!!. That was the sound all around us.

I had been living in Japan for a few months and one of my roommates at the time was a beautiful blond girl from Carmel California.  Let’s call her Jenny.

Jenny was raised like most westerners to believe that you “SHOULD NOT SLURP” and you “SHOULD NOT HOLD YOUR SOUP BOWL UP TO YOUR MOUTH” It just wasn’t civilized. Jenny thought it was absolutely disgusting that everyone around her was slurping and would not lower herself to slurping. I think she was self conscious.

We tried to explain to Jenny that slurping was a sign to the chef or in this case, the street vendor where we were eating the noodles that the food was delicious. NOPE! She wanted nothing to do with any slurping. Oh Well!

Adapt and adopt or suffer

Jenny never did adapt to the food, the etiquette or the culture. She ended up returning home within a month with a terrible experience while I continued on with my travels for a total of 3.5 years… loving every second of it.

The point I’m trying to make is that eating among the locals is going to be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. Your experiences with the food will give you as much insight into a foreign culture as say going to see the local sites of that country so you had better adapt!

7 surprising examples of some strange table manners around the world

Don’t be a Jenny. If you don’t try to adapt to the local food customs of  the country you are visiting you probably won’t fully enjoy yourself. With that said, here are some table manners from around the world which you might find peculiar.

1-  NEVER, EVER, NEVER leave your chopsticks sticking vertically in a bowl of rice

strange table manners, never stick chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice

Growing up, my mother used to tell me it was bad luck to stick your chopsticks into your rice. Even to this day when If I see someone sticking their chopsticks in their rice, I have to hold back the urge to grab them and lay them flat on their bowl or plate. Many countries in Asia believe it is bad luck including Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, China and Korea to name a few. The reason it’s considered taboo is because during funerals, bowls of rice with chopsticks sticking straight out of them are offered to the dead. Passing food between chopsticks is also taboo because this is how the bone ashes are transferred to an urn or bone pot.

2- Slurping is good

Strange table manners from around the world: slurping noodles is not rude

One of my favourite things about Asian food is noodles. Pho, ramen, Udon, soba to name a few.

As you just read in my story above, in Japan, slurping is considered polite. It’s also an indication that the food is good. You’ll look weirder for not slurping your noodles. Trust me.

But be careful, slurping is not considered polite in all Asian cultures. In Thailand and in parts of China it is accepted to slurp but not really encouraged. Just know before you go.

#3- Should you finish all the food on your plate?

strange table manners around the world. It's rude to finish your plateYou might be surprised to learn that in some cultures, finishing all your food on your plate is a sign that your host did not provide you with enough food and in many cases your host will continue to serve you each time you clear your plate and drink your entire beverage.

Filipinos, Cambodians, Koreans, Egyptians and Thais will all think this. For Japanese people, finishing ones plate and rice bowl signifies to the host that the meal is complete and that you appreciate the meal. When in doubt, observe what other people are doing.

#4- Is it ever polite to fart after a meal?

Strange table manners: farting is polite

I heard that farting was NOT rude in certain cultures but I wasn’t really sure if was true or not so I did a little research. Turns out Farting after a meal is an expression of thanks and appreciation to the Inuit people of Canada? I’m not sure if I believe this one so if you know otherwise, please let me know. I’m really curious.

5- Yes, You SHOULD Belch and Burp:

strange table manners its not rude to burp

As strange as it may sound, burping is not considered rude in parts of India, China and in Bahrain- A small island country located in the Middle East, just south of Kuwait. Burping after a meal shows a sign of appreciation, satiety and being well fed.

6- Don’t Cut Your Salad With A Knife In France!

strange table manners: don't cut your salad

Proper etiquette in France when eating a salad is to fold the salad leaves onto your fork if they are too big to put in your mouth. Never are you to cut your salad with a knife. This rule of etiquette is taught to many French children from an early age just as you were told never to put your elbows on the table. Most French people have no idea why it’s considered rude but I know.

The belief that cutting your salad is rude originates from a very practical reason. In the days when utensils were not stainless steel, the vinaigrette in the salad dressing would tarnish the knife. To avoid this from happening, the cook would cut the salad into bite size pieces before serving it. If she saw you cutting your salad after it was served to you, it meant that the cook did not cut the salad properly. Don’t worry though, loads of French people cut their salad and you won’t be judged whatsoever. The only time you may want to think twice about cutting your salad is if you are in a fancy restaurant where they had in fact cut your salad for you. By the way, salad is always served after the meal in France and not before.

7- Don’t eat with a Fork please

strange table manners don't use a fork to eat please

Have you ever gone to a fancy restaurant and weren’t sure which fork to use. Fear not. It’s the one furthest from your plate.

In Thai culture the proper way to enjoy Thai food is with a spoon in your right hand and a fork in your left. The fork is not used to shovel food in your mouth, in fact it never goes in your mouth. Instead the fork is used like a rake to rake food from your plate onto your spoon. Chopsticks are usually used only for stand alone noodle dishes. You may however use your fork to eat anything that is not served with rice like fruit. Got it?

Some countries don’t even use forks but rather eat with their hands like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

during the renaissance period in Europe, there were no forks. The custom of using forks began in Italy but it took a while for it to catch on. Forks were initially viewed almost to a fault as excessively refined. In the case of men, it was even considered a sign of effeminacy.  Even then, only the wealthy could afford them throughout the 17th century. 

Don’t take these rules too seriously

Just like Americans and Canadians who don’t adhere to all their table manner rules, not all people in other countries adhere to their table manner rules 100%.

For instance, it’s generally believed that you should not put your elbows on the table or a napkin on your lap but not everyone adheres to these rules 100 percent.

When in doubt, look around and see what other people are doing and just follow suit. Better yet, just ask someone.  And the next time you are sitting next to someone who slurps at the table, just smile and feel happy that you know, they are showing that they are enjoying their meal.

Cheddar Cheese Substitutes for when you can't find cheddar in France

There Is NO Cheddar Cheese In France And What To Do About It!

Cheddar Cheese Substitutes for when you can't find cheddar in France

France is the number one exporter of cheese in the world, producing over 450 varieties of cheese although some say the number is closer to 1,000. Cheddar cheese however, is not one of those cheese. As a result, it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to find a good Cheddar in France. So what can you do if you absolutely need cheddar cheese for that special Mac and cheese recipe but can’t find any? Here are the cheeses we use as cheddar substitutes.

“Cheddar Is NOT Real Cheese” said the Frenchman

My daughter’s best friend’s father, Franck, is your typical French guy. When I say typical, I mean he represents a good majority of the French population when it comes to French cuisine.

  • He believes in always having a variety of cheese at hand to eat after meals.
  • Baguette’s are a daily thing for breakfast and for dinner.
  • Certain French dishes must not be tampered with and
  • Most of all he believes that cheddar cheese is NOT A REAL CHEESE which really means, he believes it is beneath any French cheese produced. Not my words.

The French are after all a very proud people when it comes to their customs, culture and cuisine almost to a fault believing that if it is not made the French way, then it isn’t all that good.

Rather than get into a debate about this, I want to talk about what you can do for those recipes that require cheddar cheese. Or at least, what I have done while living in France because cheddar cheese is not ALWAYS available.

Is It Possible To Find Cheddar Cheese In France?

It’s not IMPOSSIBLE to find cheddar cheese however it can be hit or miss. Depending on where you live in France, some grocery stores will not even carry cheddar cheese because there is not a market for it. While other stores may carry only one type of cheddar cheese among hundreds of different types of mostly French cheeses.


What To Do If You Need Cheddar Cheese In France And Can’t Find Any?

Our local grocery store (Intermarché, MonoPrix and Carrefour) carry cheddar intermittently so when I have a recipe calling for cheddar cheese, I am always on the ready to substitute different cheeses in the event that I cannot find cheddar cheese. Which turns out to be 50 percent of the time.

Once you know what cheeses are available, it’s easy to find good cheddar cheese substitutes.

Find a cheddar cheese substitute that suits your taste and your needs.  This is what I recommend.

  1. Easy: Find a cheddar cheese replacement that is similar in taste and texture.
  2. Easy but may require experimenting: Find a completely different cheese for your recipe. I have put Bleu Cheese and Emmental in my mac and cheese recipes with great success.
  3. Costly and cumbersome: Order cheddar online.
  4. Search For A British Store: I found one in Paris. They are few and far between in France.
  5. DIY Cooks: Make your own cheddar cheese: Ummm…Need I say more?

Below are the cheeses I use in place of Cheddar cheese. Some taste and look similar to cheddar cheese while others taste nothing like cheddar but I choose to use it anyways.

1- Edam Cheese

Edam cheese is actually a Dutch cheese from North Holland named after the town of Edam. It is widely available through out France and very affordable. It is similar in taste to cheddar and even looks like cheddar. My kids approve this cheese for tacos so it can’t be all that bad as a cheddar cheese replacement.

edam cheese a cheddar cheese substitute for French expats living in France2- Mimolette Cheese

Mimolette cheese dates back to the reign of Louis XIV, who prohibited the import of Dutch cheeses into France. The people who lived in the northernmost region of France, which is now Belgium had strong cultural ties to Holland and loved Dutch cheeses. Rather than smuggle in the contraband Edam cheese they started producing their own version of Edam cheese with a French twist. That is how Mimolette cheese was born.

As such it tastes similar to cheddar cheese and it is also widely available throughout France and very affordable.

Mimolette cheese a cheddar cheese substitute for French expats living in France

3- Cantal Cheese

Cantal is probably one of the oldest French Cheeses made in France, pre-dating Roquefort (11th century). Surprisingly many people online said this was the least like cheddar cheese but both my husband and I found this tasted the MOST like cheddar cheese. To me it tasted like an aged cheddar cheese.

Cantal cheese a cheddar cheese substitute for French expats living in France

4- Emmental Cheese

Technically this is nothing like cheddar but this cheese is everywhere in France. Think of it as the cheddar cheese of of France in that it is widely eaten through out France. We buy bags of shredded emmental for omelette. Emmental is also used in fondu and French onion soup. Give it a try to use it instead of cheddar.

emmental-cheese cheese is like the cheddar of France

5- Aged Gouda Cheese

Another Dutch cheese which is widely available throughout France is aged gouda cheese which can taste very similar to an aged cheddar cheese.

aged Gouda cheese is a good substitute for cheddar cheese


There are of course more than these 5 cheeses you could use in lieu of cheddar cheese but these are my go to ones. For example:

  • Mac and Cheese- I use Emmental and Gouda with a bit of Blue cheese.
  • Nachos- I use Mimolette
  • Tacos- I use Edam or Mimolette
  • Sandwhiches- Swiss, sliced mimolette, Cantal, Gouda, Edam or any cheese I want to try.
  • Fajitas- I use Mimolette
  • Omlettes- For the most part I use Emmental but sometimes use the other cheeses listed in this post

Want to make your own cheddar?

Epicerie Anglaise located in parisI mentioned that you can find cheddar cheese at British stores and speciality stores. Well, If you are in Paris go to “Epicerie Anglaise It’s expensive though, about 29 Euros per Kilo at the time of this writing.

DIY COOKS: Make Your Own Cheddar Cheese:

God help all you brave souls who want to attempt to  make your own cheese, below I will  list out a few cheese making books and kits you can use to do this. GOOD luck.

Store coming soon Dismiss