French and Americans are poles apart... when it comes to time spent eating

The Local France
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French and Americans are poles apart... when it comes to time spent eating
Photo: AFP

A new survey has revealed just how much longer the French spend eating and drinking compared to Americans. And that's not the only way the two cultures differ in terms of their food habits.


One of the many cliches about France is that mealtimes are sacred with people spending hours languishing over long meals...while America is known around the world for, well, the opposite. 
Now there are figures published by economic think tank the OECD to back up the stereotypes.
A global ranking of each country based on how long they spend eating and drinking reveals the French are top of the league whilst Americans are bottom.
Apparently, the French spend a leisurely two hours, 13 minutes a day drinking and eating, which is far above the average of one hour 30 minutes and represents the most time spent on meals compared to any other country included in the survey (see table below). 
Meanwhile in the land of coffee on the go, Americans spend the least time eating and drinking at just one hour on mealtimes.
Greece and Italy followed hot the heels of France, with people in those countries spending two hours 11 minutes and two hours seven minutes on eating and drinking, respectively. 
And in the UK and Germany, the average mealtimes were one hour 19 minutes and one hour 34, respectively.
The difference in the length of time spent on eating and drinking in France and the US is unlikely to come as a surprise to anyone who has had a meal in both countries.
In French restaurants you can sit for hours over a three course meal without feeling guilty that you might be occupying a table for a little too long and without being asked to move on by waiters. In the US by contrast, the eating out culture often involves getting in a restaurant, getting fed and getting out as quickly as you can .
But the survey shed light on just one of the ways the two cultures differ in terms of their approach to food.

And there are lots of others

For example, take a look at their respective breakfast habits. While in France the most important meal of the day could be a pastry or perhaps even just a cigarette and coffee, Americans like to start the day with a big plate of eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon. 

On top of that, when they take their coffee break, the French sit down in a cafe with a friend or a book and while away an hour or more, while in the US a coffee is something to be consumed on the move.

And these differences stretch beyond how people eat and drink. 

While dinner tends to be at around 6pm-7pm in America, in France it's unlikely to be any earlier than 8pm.

A US diner is likely to find themselves extremely hungry in France come early evening when instead of sitting down to dinner the French are pouring their first apero of the evening. 

What the French find weird about Americans
Photo: Kamsworld/Mark Drago/flickr


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