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therese

Kids in Restaurants in France

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In terms of the French believing that Maman knows best, my experience doesn't support this. I have a baby boy, and the amount of unsolicited advice/criticism I received in the streets of Paris was no different than anywhere else. Worse, my family-in-law were quite sceptical of the way I was raising my son. As I live in the UK where a more structured approach to motherhood is more common, I breastfeed for 7 months (most mothers don't breastfeed in France...bad for the boobs) and put my son on a schedule from birth...both things which were marvelled at.

That is very surprising, almost shocking to me. I've been to Paris on numerous occassions with my daughter when she was a baby. I breast fed her well past 7 months, nursed her in public in Paris when she was 18 months old.

Anyway, it seems we've just had different experiences in this sense.

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On the topic of the behaviour of French children, perhaps it is true that only the well-behaved children are taken out for nice meals, but I think that it is just that, in general, babies are taught from birth that mealtimes are not just about eating, but also a time for the family to be together.   

I think you may have nailed this.

Meal time is family time which means first, that parents pay attention to the children, which minimizes fussing; second, that people are more relaxed about younger family members at the table, which minimizes stress (on both sides). The kids both get attention and get taught to mind their manners, so they're less likely to crank out in the first place. The adults demand good behavior but pay attention to the kids, and they recognize that children are children and not perfect, so they neither freak out nor ignore it if the kid gets a little fussy.

Because it's family time, there is both a high standard of behavior and a certain tolerance (kind of like dinner at grandma's, in the Busboy clan), which keeps the stress level down, which keeps the kids from acting out which keeps the grown-ups from either spoiling or whacking the kids which means -- voila -- a delightful meal all around.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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The breastfeeding question is one that particularly interests me, and I make it a point of asking new mothers about their own experiences as well as their impressions of general practice in their communities. Spas (the setting of my original query re screaming infants) are a particularly great place for this sort of conversation, of course, but I also often bring it up with colleagues at meetings and so forth.

Based on those conversations with French women (and men---I really will talk about anything with anybody) it seems like jennahan's experience reflects the general impression that breastfeeding is something that mothers should consider, and may even do for brief periods (1 to 2 months) but rarely continue beyond three months. Six months was considered perhaps excessive, and the three mothers of young infants (all under six months, none nursing) at the spa that visit were all very surprised that I'd nursed mine for 12 and 14 months.

So overall the attitudes in France seemed very similar to those in most of the U.S. Lots of factors influence nursing practices in both countries: education, income, cultural and family nursing history, etc.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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The breastfeeding question is one that particularly interests me, and I make it a point of asking new mothers about their own experiences as well as their impressions of general practice in their communities. Spas (the setting of my original query re screaming infants) are a particularly great place for this sort of conversation, of course, but I also often bring it up with colleagues at meetings and so forth.

Based on those conversations with French women (and men---I really will talk about anything with anybody) it seems like jennahan's experience reflects the general impression that breastfeeding is something that mothers should consider, and may even do for brief periods (1 to 2 months) but rarely continue beyond three months. Six months was considered perhaps excessive, and the three mothers of young infants (all under six months, none nursing) at the spa that visit were all very surprised that I'd nursed mine for 12 and 14 months.

So overall the attitudes in France seemed very similar to those in most of the U.S. Lots of factors influence nursing practices in both countries: education, income, cultural and family nursing history, etc.

Based on my experiences which include daily contact with the French who live in Los Angeles. Most are not French-Americans. They are here on job assignments and have no desire to become American in any way. Plus the other experiences I have talked about.

1-3 months is the norm. Beyond that is highly uncommon. Two French pediatricians in France told me this as well. And mostly they were concerned that it's hard on the mother's body, not that it was socially unacceptable or wrong to breast feed longer. I've whipped out my titty in public in France plenty of times to breastfeed my daughter from the time she 6 months old till she was almost two. I can say that no one batted an eye.

As far as the U.S. is concerned in LA 3 months to a year is common. Child led weaning is not as common, but not uncommon either. Alot of people get nervous when the child is two, most freak out at three, four is primitive.

An Australian woman told me that over there 4 is not a big deal. I tend to agree. And no I did not breastfeed my children that long.

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As far as the U.S. is concerned in LA 3 months to a year is common. Child led weaning is not as common, but not uncommon either. Alot of people get nervous when the child is two, most freak out at three, four is primitive.

An Australian woman told me that over there 4 is not a big deal. I tend to agree. And no I did not breastfeed my children that long.

It's weird to admit, as though I've done something wrong, but I did nurse my daughter that long. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," was my retort to my mother-in-law who would drawl, "Don't you THINK it's about TIME you weaned her?"

Well, she was the most secure child I ever knew (still is), but I sure as heck never whipped out my boob in a restaurant. Of course, in Santa Cruz, that wouldn't have raised too many eyebrows.

:laugh:

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1-3 months is the norm. Beyond that is highly uncommon. Two French pediatricians in France told me this as well. And mostly they were concerned that it's hard on the mother's body, not that it was socially unacceptable or wrong to breast feed longer.

Interesting statements from the pediatricians, as those of us who have procreated and nursed know that nursing's not really all that taxing on the mother's body, particuarly compared to pregnancy and parturition, and a lot easier than endless bottles and formula and attendant crap.

And it also doesn't ruin your breasts (just trust me on this one).

Physicians not endorsing nursing beyond three months (or even at all) does, in effect, render it socially unacceptable: if it's not necesssary then why do it? Is there something wrong with the mother?

As touargesand implies there's a fair amount of variation in nursing practice in the U.S. I nursed children in both California (Palo Alto and surrounding areas) and Georgia (Atlanta), frequently in public, including restaurants, and actually got a bit more push back in California than in Georgia.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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In Sweden most women breast feed for about 9-12 months and that is the recommendation from health officials.

What I see coming out is that countries where mothers need to get back to work quickly breast feeding is less common and short in duration. In the Nordic countries where most women stay home at least 1 year after child birth (with compensation from the government and full rights back to their old job!) children are breast fed longer. I think that convenience plays a big role. I would not be easy to keep breast feeding once one has gone back to work.

And then the "society" norms and doctor recommendations are adjusted to fits what is possible for the woman to accomplish without undue complications and stress.

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And then the "society" norms and doctor recommendations are adjusted to fits what is possible for the woman to accomplish without undue complications and stress.

You make excellent points, both re early return to work making nursing difficult and physicians' adjusting their recommendations to conform to societal expectations.

Difficulty nursing after returning to work is not only a question of convenience, but of physiology. I returned to work 3 months after the birth of my first child, 6 months after the birth of the second. Despite a demanding full-time work schedule I continued to nurse, pumping twice daily at work and nursing at home. The inconvenience was minimal, and more than offset by the infrequency of illnesses in my children (relative to their non-nursing peers both in and out of daycare).

A much more significant physiologic barrier to nursing for working mothers is too early return to work. In the U.S. this is frequently only a month (all that I was entitled to, in fact---I took additional unpaid leave after each birth), with six weeks considered generous. Lactation is tied to frequency/intensity of nursing, and a new mother will have difficulty maintaining adequate milk supply without it. Pumping is a poor substitute for an infant in this respect, and many women will inadvertently wean their children in this way.

So when French pediatricians voice concerns about nursing damaging a woman's health they may well be correct under these circumstances, as a woman who is told that she should be nursing but can't will likely be under a great deal of stress.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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We need a thread on nursing.

Yep. You want to start it? General Food, I guess. We could ask people to post about their experiences, perceptions in their cultures, etc.

But I can tie this thread up neatly, referring back to my original post and my experience with screaming babies in a restaurant in France (at a thalasso spa for anybody who doesn't want to go back and read the whole thing). A nursing baby is a non-screaming baby, and young babies usually rock right off to sleep when they're done.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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A short list of the most common complaints

1. Half and half.

2. Margarine (invented by in France btw).

3. Cinnamon in pastries.

4. Ketchup.

5. bbq sauce.

6. Large cups of coffee with the plastic lid.

7. Le Hot Dog.

8. American mustard.

9. Their perceptions that Americans overuse condiments in general.

10. Sodas with meals. Drinking a sweet beverage with savory dishes is one of the biggest gripes I hear. I say no one is forcing you.

Ok, I can understand the reasons for #2 (it's "fake" butter), #4 (especially this one) (same as item 9, you want to be able to taste what you're eating, etc.), #5 (ditto), #7 (it's not "proper" food), #9 and #10 (wine, not soda) but the rest I don't get. Cinnamon in pastries?!? Explain please. What's wrong with that?

Soba

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Cinnamon in pastries?!?  Explain please.  What's wrong with that?

Soba

Many French think Cinnamon tastes like medicine.

Yes. The smell and flavor are too strong. It is also associated with savory dishes not sweet dishes in Moroccan or Western Algerian cuisine.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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A short list of the most common complaints

1. Half and half.

2. Margarine (invented by in France btw).

3. Cinnamon in pastries.

4. Ketchup.

5. bbq sauce.

6. Large cups of coffee with the plastic lid.

7. Le Hot Dog.

8. American mustard.

9. Their perceptions that Americans overuse condiments in general.

10. Sodas with meals. Drinking a sweet beverage with savory dishes is one of the biggest gripes I hear. I say no one is forcing you.

Ok, I can understand the reasons for #2 (it's "fake" butter), #4 (especially this one) (same as item 9, you want to be able to taste what you're eating, etc.), #5 (ditto), #7 (it's not "proper" food), #9 and #10 (wine, not soda) but the rest I don't get. Cinnamon in pastries?!? Explain please. What's wrong with that?

Soba

It took me 10 years to get used to those big cups of coffee. It's like 100 times the size of a typical French coffee. I have picked up an American habit, coffee to go. I drink from them now because that is they are served that way in the States, almost impossible to avoid. Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that? Half and half, what is the point of this?


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

I always drink that cheap, sugar-fortified piquette from Beaujolais.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

I always drink that cheap, sugar-fortified piquette from Beaujolais.

:laugh:


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I was raised by hippie, Vietnam-War-protesting, Upper West Side Jewish intellectual parents (of course they later became neoconservatives) and went to every crunchy granola type of school and camp imaginable -- you know, the places about which the people at the Montesori schools say "That place is really strange!" -- where I led as structureless a life as a child can lead. We did, however, sit down to dinner every single night of the week, as a family, for probably the first 10 years of my life (once my sister went to college and my father had his heart attack, things became more chaotic). I believe as a result, I cannot remember an age at which I would have thought it acceptable to behave badly at the dinner table -- either at home or in a restaurant. I might not have had the zitsfleish for a meal at Taillevent (nor did my parents have the money) but we went out to plenty of restaurants from the earliest ages I can remember and I sat there and ate like a normal person (well, more like two normal people). I have to think that the sitting-down-to-dinner-as-a-family thing explains most of it. There seems to be a very strong correlation between sitting-down-to-dinner-as-a-family and good-behavior-in-restaurants. Of course some kids just don't behave no matter what -- there are these things called genes, and I've seen some parents who appear to be doing everything right but can't get their kids to behave, and some apparently incompetent parents who have very well behaved kids -- but even a badly behaved kid like me was able to shut it off for a little while each day for the sake of food.

The other thing I wouldn't underestimate is the example that kids and families set for one another. If you live in a society where kids behave in restaurants, then other kids behave in restaurants, largely because the negative examples just aren't there to follow and the positive ones are. There's a bit of chicken-and-egg to that, but it is the case.

Also, I'd suggest that most people writing on this topic do not make a habit of dining at McDonald's in France, where you can see fat French kids behaving in ways that would get you thrown in McPrison in New Jersey. So many of the generalizations here are based on poor samples in two ways: 1) they are based mostly on observation of well-behaved kids, and 2) they are based mostly on observation of the venues where well-behaved kids are likely to be taken.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
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Yes. The smell and flavor are too strong. It is also associated with savory dishes not sweet dishes in Moroccan or Western Algerian cuisine.

In much of the Mediterranean and Middle East, indeed, not to mention India. When I got to know Greek cooking, I discovered that a little cinnamon in a tomato and meat sauce works wonders. And indeed the best "Italian" ragu I know of is made in the Ionian islands, where cinnamon also enters a few meat stews. Actually the cinnamon-tomato association is a delight. The Syrian recipe mnazzalet banadora (a tomato-based appetizer) has cinnamon too. Etc. I have to mention that the French are much more astonished at the use of cinnamon in savoury dishes than at its use in sweet dishes.

I have never heard any French person complain about cinnamon in pastries but this is only my experience. There is cinnamon in Alsatian pastries, and in some regional pastries, including the famous tarte normande. The use of cinnamon in sweet dishes is not so widespread in France as it is in England and America, but it is not unknown.

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There seems to be a very strong correlation between sitting-down-to-dinner-as-a-family and good-behavior-in-restaurants.

Wise words indeed. This, and your whole post too.

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There seems to be a very strong correlation between sitting-down-to-dinner-as-a-family and good-behavior-in-restaurants.

Wise words indeed. This, and your whole post too.

Indeed.

Interestingly, my experience has been that -- just as kids are often better behaved under the supervision of other adults than their parents' -- they behave better at restaurants than they do at home, after a certain point (not 2-year-olds, but 4-year-olds). Or, maybe it's just the death threats I used to issue before we sat down in anything more formal than a McDonalds.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I have picked up an American habit, coffee to go.  I drink from them now because that is they are served  that way in the States, almost impossible to avoid. Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

Ask for a real cup and go sit down and drink it. Or stand if you're drinking an espresso and you're in a hurry. I hate drinking out of paper or foam (and find those plastic sippy cup things downright disgusting), so I don't do it.

Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

Beer.

Do you drink wine with merguez? And there's lot of different sorts of BBQ sauce, many of them not particularly sweet.


Can you pee in the ocean?

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My wife cannot understand why we have cinnamon in everything.

But I would not say the all French are so rigid in their food choices. On my last in-laws visit they specifically requested soul food (fried chicken, fried fish), boradwalk fries, local fish, steaks, ice cream sundaes, etc. They are very 'fine dining' types in France but wanted to embrace the local culture here.

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Yes. The smell and flavor are too strong. It is also associated with savory dishes not sweet dishes in Moroccan or Western Algerian cuisine.

In much of the Mediterranean and Middle East, indeed, not to mention India. When I got to know Greek cooking, I discovered that a little cinnamon in a tomato and meat sauce works wonders. And indeed the best "Italian" ragu I know of is made in the Ionian islands, where cinnamon also enters a few meat stews. Actually the cinnamon-tomato association is a delight. The Syrian recipe mnazzalet banadora (a tomato-based appetizer) has cinnamon too. Etc. I have to mention that the French are much more astonished at the use of cinnamon in savoury dishes than at its use in sweet dishes.

I have never heard any French person complain about cinnamon in pastries but this is only my experience. There is cinnamon in Alsatian pastries, and in some regional pastries, including the famous tarte normande. The use of cinnamon in sweet dishes is not so widespread in France as it is in England and America, but it is not unknown.

It's copiously used in the States by our standards. We don't complain about in France because it suits our standards.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I have picked up an American habit, coffee to go.  I drink from them now because that is they are served  that way in the States, almost impossible to avoid. Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

Ask for a real cup and go sit down and drink it. Or stand if you're drinking an espresso and you're in a hurry. I hate drinking out of paper or foam (and find those plastic sippy cup things downright disgusting), so I don't do it.

Bbq sauce is cloyingly sweet, sour and spicey what sort of wine does one drink with that?

Beer.

Do you drink wine with merguez? And there's lot of different sorts of BBQ sauce, many of them not particularly sweet.

Yes I do. Usually a red, depends on how much it is seasoned.

In Marseilles where there is a large North African (mostly Algerian) population as well as pied noirs, Rose seems a more choice.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Also, I'd suggest that most people writing on this topic do not make a habit of dining at McDonald's in France, where you can see fat French kids behaving in ways that would get you thrown in McPrison in New Jersey. So many of the generalizations here are based on poor samples in two ways: 1) they are based mostly on observation of well-behaved kids, and 2) they are based mostly on observation of the venues where well-behaved kids are likely to be taken.

I've seen those kids. They are tourists from Belgium and Canada.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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