The Making of a Meal

Sarina Klein
November 29, 2016

While studying abroad, I’ve been taking a Gastronomy class where I’ve been learning a lot about French cuisine, wine, and etiquette. What I have come to realize is that France takes a lot of pride in its cuisine and places a lot of importance on the presentation and sharing of a meal. You can see this is the aesthetic of the table spreads, the choice of cutlery, and the order of dishes, making each meal a sort of event in and of itself.

While I realize that the U.S. can be the same way, I feel like the French culture really accommodates to this type of lifestyle of cooking and sharing a meal. Also being a college student, I find it really hard to take the time out of my day to really prepare a meal and gather around a table with my friends, or family, in order to share that moment with them. More often than not, I’m rushing through dinner because I’m so busy or I end up eating at an odd hour by myself because that is what worked best for me. But while here in France, I’ve tried to stop myself from doing things like that, taking a pause from my hectic daily routine, and soaking up the experience of sitting down for a home-cooked meal.

Now, when I’m with my host family this isn’t too hard to do since my host parents prep meals for me and there are times our meals, especially lunch and/or dinner, can last for hours. I remember my host mom explaining to me during one of my first days here how important it is that everyone gets together to eat at the table and it seems to be a part of the day where the whole family, or a group of friends, can get together and just talk and have a good time.

Recently, my friends and I here in Nantes have decided to adopt this way of life and have opted for cooking meals together instead of going out to eat. This is partially due to the fact that we want to save as much money as we possibly can as we near the end of our semester and find ourselves with a lot less money in our bank accounts than when we started. But this is also because we want to simply hangout with one another in a relaxed environment and what better way to do that than getting together to cook a meal.

For instance, during a trip I took this past weekend, my friends and I were staying in an Airbnb for a couple nights and decided to cook dinner instead of going out to a restaurant. We decided to keep it simple and cook a spaghetti dinner for us and our other group of friends who were staying at a different Airbnb but were coming over to eat that night. Overall, the dinner was a huge success, and very inexpensive, but more importantly, it was a lot of fun. We listened to music, sang, laughed and shared stories. By the end of the night, we had created new memories to share and simply enjoyed ourselves in each other’s company, making it a moment that we will forever cherish as a part of our study abroad experience and making it a meal that I’ll never forget. Because even if it's just a simple meal, there is something very special about the act of preparing and sharing a meal with friends and/or family.

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Sarina Klein

<p>Hello everyone! My name is Sarina and I from California but attend the University of Portland. I am&nbsp;currently&nbsp;studying&nbsp;Organizational Communications and French. I love to explore new places, whether that be a new country or a new coffee shop. Additionally, I love all things Disney and Harry Potter related and I&nbsp;am known for occasionally&nbsp;bursting out into song (especially camp songs).&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></p>

Home University:
University of Portland
Francophone Studies
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