French word of the day: Malbouffe

French word of the day: Malbouffe
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This is something we all would do well to avoid during lockdown.

Why do I need to know malbouffe? 

Because it’s the cruel truth that, even in France, there is such a thing as junk food. 

What does it mean?

Mal means ‘bad’ and bouffe is colloquial slang for ‘food’. Bouffer means eat, but it has a greedy ring to it and is often used as a referral to having overeaten or eaten badly

It’s a common yet fatally naive delusion that a hamburger with fries somehow become healthy when eaten inside the French territory.

Yes, France is a country of delicious cuisine and a culture of joie de vivre that is inexplicably tied to their longstanding culinary traditions. 

READ ALSO: The French eating habits the world should learn from



But, the sad reality is that kebabs, burgers and fatty take away pizza don't become more healthy just because you crossed the border (yes, we know there are – delicious – exceptions, but don't pretend like all your burgers were cooked by a master chef who only used fresh products.)

And – shocker – French people love junk food too

That’s why the French have their own expression for junk food – malbouffe – instead of simply having Frenchified the anglo expression like they have done with so many others (like they did with 'hamburger' – pronounced ammburrgerr).

That's also why there's so much talk about how to prevent splurging on all the tasty malbouffe out there in times of solitude during the coronavirus lockdown. Let's face it, eating healthy and rester en forme (staying in shape) has rarely been harder than when confined to your own apartment without access to fresh fruit and veg.

But, if we're to believe the French online dictionary l'Internautemalbouffe is très mauvais pour la santé – very bad for your health.

It doesn't stop there:

Le hamburger est le symbole de la malbouffe par excellence avec sa viande et sa sauce grasses – 'The hamburger is the symbol of junk food par excellence with its meat and fatty sauce'. 

Thanks, l'Internaute, we'll have a salad for lunch, then.

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