Grazing is for Cows

French fast food photo: Vincent Dancer

I’ve lived here in the wild western mountains of the interior of British Columbia now for about 3 years. We came here from the south of France where we lived comfortably for 13 years. The cultural shock was as you might imagine pretty complete. And none more so than the way people here consider food and drink.

In France food and wine are a source of national pride, an integral part of daily life and something the French don’t mess with. Here discussion of food and wine comes way down the list for most people, after hockey scores, the Olympics  and the latest TV scandals. Canadians work very hard and days tend to start early. So what do Canucks do to kick-start their day? They flock to Starbucks or Tim Horton for the morning drug of choice; a big mug of steaming coffee. Unlike France, where everyone sits at a café to down their espresso, Canadians get their java to go. And for many the grazing attitude continues all day long.  Only at night can most people have a more relaxed, communal meal with family, that is if everyone is home at the right time!

The same kind of system applies to many school kids.  They start early and finish early and have a minimal amount of time to eat. There is no city-wide system of school cafeterias such as one finds in France. Most kids just brown bag it. What goes into those bags can vary from quite healthy to downright disgusting. My son has a friend who eats a peanut butter sandwich every day throughout the year. Or another who survives (not sure this is the best word) on MacDonald’s fare almost every day. How can we be one of the richest countries in the world and yet feed our children so poorly? We’re giving our kids terrible eating habits that encourage obesity and will eventually create a huge burden on our already over burdened health care system.

Just try to take a bit more time the next time you have a nice meal as a family. Be in the moment and really taste the food. Savour it. Breathe it in. Enjoy it completely with focused delight and give thanks to God, the earth, the rain, the sun and our amazing world that came together to put it on your plate.





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4 responses to “Grazing is for Cows

  1. warren b

    Great read. Eyeopening.

  2. okwineweenie

    Love your site Joe,

    I too believe in food from scratch and not a can as well having the opportunity to share with friends. Looking forward to reading more blogs. Sounds like the French lifestyle is wonderful unfortunately the payout for living in Canada is fewer people in relation to land. We have to pay more so we work more.

  3. Susan

    Thoughtful and well said Joe. Now that I’m retired I’m making an effort to eat more healthily. I have less money but what makes it possible is that I have more time. Or at least choose to spend more time shopping locally, planning, and then cooking from scratch. And I need to exercise more to keep off the weight that’s one result of all this good food.

  4. Joe, I’m a very good friend of your sister, Susan. I remember the time when you were first moving to this country, and have thought about the complexities of your transition to the “wild” Canadian west. The “culture” shock must, I imagine, have been quite pronounced for you and your family. And you have survived!!

    Your post here speaks volumes – making me long to reconnect with the European lurking deep inside my humble self. Thanks for this! Best wishes!

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