I attended the 11th summer food school hosted by the European Institute for the Histories and Cultures of Food in Tours, France. We were locked up in an old chateau on top of a hill pondering, discussing, and debating the materiality of food and foodways.
The days were long and intense but very rewarding as we spent 99% of our waking hours with the group. I managed to take as many photos of the meals we had during the week to leave a record. I missed a few because I was so caught up in conversation or struggling to make conversation in my broken french.
The daily schedule went something like this:
7am wake up
2-5pm lecture or presentations
5-7:30pm lecture or workshops
9:30-11:30 drinks in town
*The only reason why I am divulging these details is to highlight the long hours of sitting in a given day.
Day 1- Welcome Dinner
Day 2- Lunch
Day 2- Dinner
Day 3- Lunch
Day 3- Dinner
Day 4- Lunch
Day 4- Dinner
Day 5- Lunch @ the Chateau Villandry
Day 6 – Lunch
Here are some of my observations from these meals:
1. The French paradox is NOT a myth.
I was certain I would gain weight because I wasn’t getting enough exercise and was eating very rich foods but I’ve managed to maintain my weight! Some of my classmates even have claimed that they lost weight on this “diet”!
2. The use of salt was very minimal in all of these dishes.
I really liked that no one was complaining about the lack of salt and I was surprised to find that all the meals I had in France were undersalted. Also, I observed that almost no one reached for the salt shaker. Are Europeans less addicted to salt than Americans?
3. Although I did not take any photos of the desserts, the rich ones were only served at lunch while fruit and cheese was served at dinner.