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The French have a reputation of spending hours at the dinner table!
And this is certainly what we do on weekends!
Every Saturday or Sunday, the French invite either their family or their friends.
And when all the guests have arrived, we start with the appetizer, commonly called “the aperitif” which consists of drinking a glass of wine, a whiskey, a port, etc. But also and above all, we gorge on cold sausage, olives, peanuts and crisps … just before eating the meal! Spot the mistake! Russians and Australians don’t understand why we eat … before eating!
Then we sit around a table and here we stay for several hours of tastings and discussions, often revolving around food. Or politics, and that’s not always a good idea.
And I remember when I lived with my mother, that almost every Sunday we had a family meal. A minimum of ten people, with my grandmother, my uncle, my aunt and all the extended family. These long meals with no end prevented me from going out to find my friends to go play football, or to ride my moped. But in fact my friends were also in the same situation as me. The Sunday family feast is a French tradition!
And I said to myself, and my friends also probably said to themselves, “It’s almost 4 o’clock, mum will serve the tea and I’ll soon be able to go out and find my friends!”
I’m not saying that I hated it! On the contrary, it was an opportunity to eat Vietnamese food, because my mother and my grandparents come from there. That explains why we drank tea after the meal and not coffee (as most French people do). I also took the opportunity to talk to my grandmother about the mysterious country of Vietnam.
So at the weekend, my mother had more time to cook and she prepared delicious dishes from that beautiful country. Yes, I’ve had the opportunity to go there and the country of my ancestors is beautiful! This beautiful song and the video will convince you perhaps.
Therefore, I was happy to be at the family feast, but it’s being forced to eat everything before leaving the table which had me confused. And it was almost impossible for me to escape before the end because I had to help my mother do the dishes and put away all the stuff.
Some of you also had to do this, right?
Once you’re an adult, if you’ve never left your home area, you’ve surely continued the tradition of these family meals. But your role’s changed, you’ve become an important player in the smooth running of this Sunday celebration. You now give the orders!
As you may know, when I was 18 I left Nice to go to Paris, and once in Paris, this kind of family obligation disappeared. Too bad for Vietnamese cuisine! However, I consoled myself by regularly attending the many Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in Chinatown in Paris.
And I could finally, thank God, do what I wanted! And quickly my main activity of Sunday was limited to recovery from the night before!
But I preferred it, even if I woke up with a pasty mouth and a big hangover, and I said to myself, “Well, tomorrow, I stop drinking!”. You probably said it too, and you probably still say it sometimes, don’t you?
Those of you who have children, I’m sure your Sundays still look a bit like those of your childhood. Am I right?
And in those moments, you don’t care what your kids think, right? Yet your teenager, he’d like to set sail and go find his friends, but it’s Sunday and Sunday is the family meal. He stays at the table and even participates in the tasks that lie ahead. That’s all! It’s like that! No choice!
That said, I repeat, I’m not against family relationships, it’s not a bad thing, as long as they are good and healthy.
Cheryl’s daughter has two children, two boys, so we are the grandparents of two little men. Are there any grandparents among you, dear readers? I’m sure there are! And I’m sure you find yourself with family fun around a large table pampered by your offspring! Even if your sons-in-law, perhaps, are eyeing their inheritance with some impatience!
And again, you’re imposing on your family what you didn’t appreciate when you were young – the family lunch/dinner!
But after all, you are the boss, and your heirs owe you respect! Money, too, maybe, but that’s another story.
Cheryl and I live in Moscow and our grandchildren live in Australia, so we can’t see them every Sunday. For two obvious reasons – 1) the distance that separates us and 2) the price of plane tickets which cost an arm and a leg. They’re lucky, aren’t they?! Yes, and so are we, because honestly, we’re not fans of this routine and life is much quieter without this family obligation.
Despite our age, the essential activity of Sunday has not changed much for us. It’s still regularly that we wake up with a pasty mouth and a hangover. The only thing that’s changed is that the headache lasts longer than before! But you already knew that!
What are your plans for next Sunday?
Tell us in the comments.
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