Tasty Treats (?)

You might have caught the news a few months ago that French gastronomy was officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. This honor of the country’s cuisine and its cultural place was filed in the “intangible” category.

I’ll let foodies have it out about what such a recognition even means, but I’d just like to display an exhibit of one questionable “food” item I recently spotted in my local Leader Price (low-cost supermarket).

Um...yum? Oh wait, I mean...YUCK!

“Intangible” wouldn’t quite be the right word for cheeseburger chips, though it somehow seems fitting. Incomprehensible, maybe?

For the record, there are French delicacies I find disgusting. Andouillette is, of course, my prime example. Basically, we’re talking pig intestines. As Wikipedia so helpfully elucidates:

“As with all tripe sausages, andouillettes are an acquired taste. Their strong smell can be reminiscent of feces and may offend people unaccustomed to the dish.”

Come now. Since when has the smell of feces been a bad thing?

When I worked at Expedia, we had a nice resto/cafe/epicerie next door, Gus (L’Atelier Gourmand), where we’d often go for lunch. Their hot food at the buffet really was kind of gourmet (for a buffet).

So often though, I’d stare down the main option of the day. “Innards,” I’d say. I just could not eat innards.

I’m not sure how I got from cheeseburger chips to innards, but anyway…here we are!

Should I unleash the floodgates? Why not? Let us know your personal gross-out food in the comments and we’ll all have a good chuckle/upchuck.

P.S. The people in line at the supermarket seemed quite confused as to why I was taking a photo of those chips. Am I the only one who thinks the picture of that cheeseburger is hilarious? “Oui, au gout de vivre moins cher,” indeed. (Crude translation: yes to the taste of living cheaply).

P.P.S. Of course, living in France rocks for food, too. Heck, 3-year olds eat better than I do most days. Check out this video about gourmet school lunches here.

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26 Responses to “Tasty Treats (?)”


  1. 1 Lee Isbell June 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I’m with you on andouillettes. One night friends and I ordered brochettes which were to contain three tasty animal groups, all meaty. We were dining late. Alas, madame, we are out of the lamb. Oh, and we are out of the pork. May we substitute andouillettes? I think he added noir to that. (What is that, we whispered to our more knowledgeable diner. Sausage, she said. Okay, we said.) It was black and had the taste and consistency of gravel. Yes, I guess that is an acquired taste if you have the motivation to acquire it.

    • 2 paris (im)perfect June 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      Yeah, I have a motivation to do a lot of things, but acquiring a taste for andouillette is not one of them. That was a pretty sneaky move, too. Andouillette most certainly would never make it onto my list as a substitute for lamb or pork :)

      I trust you had some other yummy meals while you were here, though!

  2. 3 Lisa | LLWorldTour June 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    ha! I was in Paris last time and was insistent on trying andouillettes. Let me premise it by saying I eat everything. I like blood sausage, liver, etc. But this one was tough! I was surprised at how much it just smelled like ass. Hard to get past that. I tried. But not happening.

  3. 5 Amy Kortuem June 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    One word for you: head cheese. (that’s two words, really, but one very gross concoction of the head parts of a pig or cow set in aspic…) It’s an old family favorite ’round these parts of Minnesota. Gulp.

    • 6 paris (im)perfect June 2, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Wow. I just had a very visceral reaction to those words, head cheese. (I guess I was asking for it as I’ve solicited examples of gross foods :) )

      My grandmother still lives in Minnesota, but thankfully this delicacy has not seemed to have made it into our family culinary traditions.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. 7 Ann June 2, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Is it wrong that I think cheeseburger-flavored chips sound kind of good?

  5. 11 twocherubsantiques June 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Years ago I was with my husband in Paris at a really nice restaurant. The waiter wasn’t very accomodating and I ended up ordering tongue and not knowing it. Now, I’ve had tongue in tacos, which wasn’t bad, kinda like roast beef, but this was a big pink tongue on my plate…luckily I also ordered a truly yummy chocolate desert.

    • 12 paris (im)perfect June 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

      Wow. I don’t think I could even take one bite of a tongue. Ick! I’d head straight for the chocolate :)

      Thanks for offering such a good example! Hope you’ll have better luck ordering on your next trip over :)

  6. 15 Sofia June 3, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    How about the roasted chicken potato chips? They may not be fantastic but it’s amazing how they are even almost juicy like a roasted chicken. As far as food I won’t try, it’s probably escargot. It’s like chewing a balloon to me.
    And, hi! I got here by googling for info about la poste. Yikes!

    • 16 paris (im)perfect June 4, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Chewing a balloon – great way to describe it!

      Oh wow, poor thing. You were googling about La Poste? Can I guess that you might be having issues with them then? I hope not, but obviously I wouldn’t be surprised! (I guess you found my post on La Poste then, huh? :) )

      Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to stick around!

  7. 17 Kristin Bair O'Keeffe June 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Stinky tofu (chòu dòufu) in China. It’s fermented tofu and the smell drops me to my knees every time…even after almost 5 years.

  8. 19 Carolyn at My Sydney Paris Life June 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Head cheese.

    But now I have added / reminded myself re andouilettes – thank you!

    Ugh. My motto for some years has been I do not eat organs.

    Re the chips/crips — and here I thought Aussie chicken-flavoured potato chips were going too far.

    Cheers and please pass a carrot or hard-boiled egg or something like that!

  9. 21 lupinssupins June 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Tout à fait d’accord au sujet des andouilletes- beurk! What gags me even worse, though- are boudins noir– blood sausage; I can’t even stand the thought of cutting into one! And the very idea of eating those little songbirds, ortolans, whole (bones,beak, feet, innards & all!) gives me the creeps [along w/ liberal, écolo outrage.] But it’s not anything I’ll ever come across, given it’s illegal & costs its weight in gold, under the table, as it were [or under the napkin or table cloth, as its traditionally eaten.]

    Et c’est scandaleux for a (former or “b/w engagements”?) prof de francais to confess, but les escargots & les cuisses de grenouillle have never passed my lips. Jeez, my landlocked self can’t even stand the idea of oysters or mussels, so how’m I going to eat snails or frog legs? Traditional French rabbit goes against my “bunnies are too cute to be food” prejudices. But at least it’s poultry-sized & mammal, so it’s more like what we unadventurous Americans are used to as meat, not as “out there” as the slimy stuff. [And it's enjoyed by a lot of Americans as well, with none of the ick or outrage factor of horse meat.] When a guest in friends’ homes, I have had no problem eating lapin, cute or not, b/c French hostesses proudly offer their own special recipes for it to us visiting rubes. Luckily I didn’t have to fake any politesse, b/c I was almost guilty to discover it is actually delicious! Still can’t quite bring myself do it or order it on my own, tho. And even as a guest, I don’t think I could muster up enough politeness to knowingly eat cheval. [A former colleague of mine used to "scare straight" her summer-tripping students away from copping out at McDonald's during their free time, by telling them in dead earnest that the French MacDo use ground horse meat! As co-chaperone, I understood I was required to keep a straight face about her subterfuge or risk her wrath.]

    These next gross-out foods are, thank goodness (literally) NOT part of French cuisine, but of course I am irrevocably grossed out that dog, cat & even rat are perfectly legitimate foods in parts of the world. I don’t think I could bear to even see those critters in food form. But I honestly don’t think I have the right to judge people who use them for food given how cows are considered sacred to hundreds of millions of Hindus and eating pork is taboo to observant Jews & Muslims worldwide AND in the U.S. alone, tens of millions of healthy, adorable cats & dogs are “euthanized” en masse every year, for want of homes.

    I’m SO with you on head cheese and innards of any kind– even haggis, my Scottish ancestry notwithstanding. In the innards category, brains elicit the biggest shudders for me, tho it’s quite a regional specialty where I live. St. Louis is home of a novelty, vintage postcard w/ a photo of once favorite diner w/a big sign: “Brains 5 cents”! There is also still a significant market for chit’lins here in this Mid-Western, but quasi-Southern city, tho my African American cousins in the West shudder at the idea. For reasons that are beyond me, huge buckets of “WE don’t touch that mess” show up in all the grocery stores around Thanksgiving. When I first did my annual vocab du Jour de l’Action de Grace list w/ my students, I discovered I had to hunt up the French for “chitterlings,” which was a challenge! I don’t even remember what approximation I came up w/ from my Harrap’s & Petit Robert [altho I remember that andouillettes is offered in dictionaries & I know they aren't chit'lins.] Do you ever encounter them in France, Sion? I’d be interested to know an authentic French term for them, if they are even consumed in comparable form.

    During my long-ago year abroad, my roomies & I would get the meal cards for the Restaus U., which were an incredible bargain– only 4 or 5 francs [under a euro!] for a fixed menu cafeteria meal, plus about the same price for choice of beverage. And I’m not as old as some might infer from that– the Restaus Universitaires were (are?) heavily subsidized & one must prove one’s student status & buy a carte d’étudiant for the privilege. The cafeterias were housed in the university locations around town, but we were not limited only to the uni branches where we were enrolled. Thus, we could have lunch near where we had classes and dinner nearer to our apartment– the nearest one being in the Barbès area. In those days, at least, it was some pretty bad food! But it was hot, filling and cheap (tho, unlike most U.S. dorm cafeterias, it was NOT “all you can eat”- no going for seconds & no choices of anything but drinks– and certainly no chips/crisps!) It was there I learned what REAL cidre can taste like; not just apple juice w/ the pulp left in, like here in the States, nor exactly our “hard cider,” either. I’ve been searching for it here ever since, w/ no luck. They were also the very first place I ever encountered the “spork” phenomenon– not intentionally designed as a duel utensil, just that we had to use the other end of our fork to eat our yogurt. Accustomed (& warned) as we were to strict French formality even in les fast food, that was quite comical to us.

    Anyway, back then, at least, one got one’s card punched to get in, before knowing the plat du jour, so good thing it was only about a dollar a meal. That way, I wasn’t taking a huge loss when the main dish turned out to be something I couldn’t face– like boudin. Thank goodness for the obligatory bread & that cup of yogurt on those occasions. My favorite story of how uncharacteristically (for France) bad the cooking could be, involved one of my favorite vegetables. One day our trays included a huge white mound of what we took to be mashed potatoes. We rarely encountered mashed potatoes in France, except for the boxed mix, laughably titled “purée de pommes de terre en flocons” from the super-marché], so I was pleasantly surprised at the prospect of the real thing. Mais non, it turned out to be incredibly overcooked cauliflower, gone to mush!

    Floodgates, indeed, Sion! Once again I seem to have rambled my way into a tome here. But it’s nice to have a place to reminisce among francophiles– some in my family actually think it’s “pretentious” of me to bring up tales from France so often & they [incl. my French-born younger brother!] wince when I use French:-/

    • 22 paris (im)perfect June 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Wow, tome indeed. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you have a place to reminisce. I think a lot of people who have spent time abroad face this challenge – sometimes others get a bit tired of hearing us talk about our journeys (“when I was in France…”), but I certainly know it’s not pretentious at all. It can be hard to strike a balance. It’s an important experience that marks you for life. But sometimes people don’t always know how to relate. I’m glad my blog allows you the space to indulge in your memories without worry!

  10. 23 CBRetriever June 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Oysters = little bits of snot

    can’t eat them

    and andouilletes are gritty


  1. 1 The Paris Blog: Paris, France Expat Tips & Resources »Blog Archive » Yum…I think? Trackback on June 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm
  2. 2 Yum…I think? Trackback on June 9, 2011 at 5:35 am

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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