“French Kids Eat Everything” is a book that I read over my cruise vacation last week. The author, a Canadian professor, was married to a French man with 2 daughters, both of who are quite picky eaters. She decided to move the family from Canada to her husband’s hometown in France and experience the life in a small French town. Over the couple of months, she discovered a sharp difference between how French teach their kids about food versus their counterparts in North America. The biggest difference being that French kids are much less picky than American or Canadian kids. They eat everything! The parents decide what the kids eat. And if the kids throw a tantrum and refuse to eat (which rarely happen in the first place), the parent would simply take the dish away. No special meal is accommodated.As early as age 4 or 5, French kids have learned to eat beets, carrots and other vegetables “despised” by American kids.
It’s such an interesting read for me. From a Chinese perspective, I can see many similarities between the Chinese parenting way in food with those of French’s. The book also prompts me to share some authentic breakfast, lunch and dinner dish when I grew up in China.
- Fried Twisted Rolls and Soymilk. I had difficulty translating the dish but it’s one of the most popular breakfast in China. People from the South and North of China both enjoy them. The soy milk is usually freshly made in the morning from yellow beans. You can add sugar to your taste. One way to eat this is to dip the rolls in the soy milk and soften it. At least, that’s why my grandma likes to eat them, because she doesn’t have much teeth:)
2. Cold Rice Noodles with Secret Seasoning!
This is my hometown specialty called Rice Noodle mixed with seasoning, which includes soy sauce, Chinese pickles, peanuts, green scallions, peppers, sesame oil, etc. It’s all time favorite when I was a kid, especially for the summer. Its robust flavor will keep you satisfied and full for an entire morning!
Next, Let’s move on to Lunch!
- Lunch at home with Family. When it comes to lunch, it gets a little complicated to generalize. People from South and North enjoy quite different dishes. But generally, for a family lunch, they will have soup, one meat dish (pork, beef, seafood, chicken or duck) and at least one vegetable dish, sometimes two, depending how many people are at the table. Everyone will eat a bowl of rice to go with the dishes. Lots of Chinese dish are sauteed. It’s fast to prepare and cook.
2. Lunch for work! Many people choose to pack their own lunch. Unlike Americans who usually brought sandwiches, the majority of lunch in China are hot meals. You will need a microwave to heat it up. Similar to what they eat at home, people will pack some rice, some meat and vegetable for a balanced meal. A fruit as a desert is also popular.
Dinner is quite similar to lunch when all families are at home. A big bowl of soup, vegetables and some meat or fish. The difference I need to point out is that many people believe eating light for dinner. The habit my family has is enjoying a bowl of soup first. The theory is that you will eat less once filled up with soup. The reason for eating light is that you only have less than 5 hours to digest before you go to bed.
So here’s just a glimpse of what ordinary Chinese have for their breakfast, lunch and dinner. All photos are from online. I’m hoping to take more photos when I go home next year! Just bear in mind that since China is so big, customs really vary from region to region. What I was able to share was only a tiny fraction of the entire Chinese cuisine. To learn more, there’s good documentary called “A Bite in China” about Chinese cuisine on Youtube here.
It has English subtitles so enjoy!