Despite popular opinion, the French love Britain more than anywhere else
In front of all these dishes, beware, navigate the full English breakfast. While modern chefs can deploy endless inventiveness to create New British Cuisine, hell will sure freeze before they, or anyone else, topples Full English as the Jewel in the Crown of British catering in the eyes of the foreigner. Jean, an agronomist from Marseille, said: “Ah, full English! I have to admit that the first time I was served beans for breakfast I was puzzled. But they’re really good, especially with English bacon and sausage.
Certainly, other elements of our range of meals continued to intrigue us, including adding milk to tea and then drinking it to accompany a meal. “I thought I fell among the mad,” said seller Thierry, from Normandy, recalling the first evening meal of his school exchange trip to East Anglia. Universal admiration was also denied to scotch and pickled eggs and steamed puddings – and I’ve never met a Frenchman who didn’t think Marmite was the work of the devil.
But the compensation comes from the vast array of food available in Britain and, in particular, London. Delphine quotes the Filipino restaurant Cirilo on Cable Street. “This kind of establishment is lacking in France. We don’t have the variety of food available in London, especially Asian communities.
In fact, what the French call “mixed(In this context, almost like dammit, “multiculturalism”) is a big tick for visitors to UK shores. It sounds a lot like “the energy, the abundance of ideas and the feeling that anything is possible in London,” according to Delphine. And it’s not just London. As a student, not so long ago, the agronomist Jean worked at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet bar and restaurant near Garstang, Lancashire.
“We were French, Italian, English of course, Slovenian and Brazilian all working together in the same place. It was superb. This kind of international group is less common in France, ”he said.
There is also a lot of praise for the informal British courtesy. “The way English phrases punctuate sentences with ‘thank you, love’ or ‘hello, honey’ – when you’re at the checkout in a supermarket in front of a woman you’ve never seen before – is lovely,” Jean said. “Kindness makes everyday life really enjoyable. And when British life turns to partying at night, that’s pretty good too – although, as he put it, “dignity takes a hit sometimes”. The agronomist has visited Britain often enough to subdue the understatement.
British talent for queuing meets with approval. “The only time a good Englishman loses his temper is if you jump in the queue, and that’s totally true too,” said salesperson Thierry. “It’s much more relaxing than anarchy in France. In terms of social behavior, the British habit of laughing at almost everything is also perfect. “The humor is incredible – sarcastic, ironic, quirky. I love it, ”says Auvergne Vanessa.