Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Catalans in Paris, Part 1

3 Comments

Standing in line to go up the Eiffel Tower with a visiting friend and her half-Catalan five-year old, we quickly determine that the people both in front of us and behind us are Catalan. The two groups recognize each other as fellow countrymen and start talking about their respective trips.

This kid's half Catalan and therefore crazy enough to try scaling the Eiffel Tower.

This kid’s half Catalan and therefore crazy enough to try scaling the Eiffel Tower.

The people ahead of us included three adults and two children who had been in town for only a couple days. The group behind us was a family with both parents and three children who were wrapping up their week-long visit. They all compared notes on what was worth seeing, how much more things cost here and how the children were faring being in a foreign country.

At one point, the dad behind us (whose family had been in Paris for several days) started calling out to his son Arnau to settle down since he was running around a bit too much. “Do you want a llonganissa sandwich?” he asked. My head whipped around to my friend so that we could lock eyes and grin at each other because that is classic Catalan behavior.

You see, Catalan people think their food is the best in the world. They so firmly believe in the superiority of their cuisine that, when they travel, they will pack food from home. The first time I heard this, a student of mine was telling me about her friend who’d had to go to India for work for a week and had vacuum-packed two dozen sandwiches to take with her. I was flabbergasted. Indian food is soooo good and to miss an opportunity to eat it in its native land seemed like the biggest waste. Plus, eating days-old sandwiches sounds terrible, but my student insisted that it had to be done. Did I know that they didn’t even have bread in India? I told her that India had naan which is delicious and a kind of bread, but she dismissed me by saying that whatever naan was, it wasn’t bread.

Over the five years that I lived amongst them, I was told by many more people that, of course, they travelled with food. More than a few even told me of trips here, to France, where they’d brought their own eats which still seems like the most insane thing anyone has ever done. Why in holy hell would you bring food to France? You would if you’re Catalan, because Catalan people are crazy.

Eat something

Embotit is “cured sausage” in Catalan, but fuet, which is one of the regional kinds and what most Catalans are referring to when saying llonganissa is a really, really good skinny flavorful pork sausage. If I could get it here, I would totally buy it all the time. As it is, I get an Italian kind that is pretty similar since I haven’t bothered to find a French one that I like as well.

Advertisements

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

3 thoughts on “Catalans in Paris, Part 1

  1. My husband went to India a few weeks ago, and while he said the food was good, certain things didn’t jive with his stomach and the lack of potable water meant that vegetables had to be cooked for a very long time. (He was also stuck on a resort and was working 16-hour days, so it wasn’t like he had the chance to go exploring.) And while he didn’t pack sandwiches, he *did* pack a box of protein bars and had to dip into them more than once.

    So while I certainly wouldn’t pack food to take to Paris of all places, I can at least partially understand the logic of bringing sandwiches to India. And in all fairness, Catalan food is very, very good.

    • My main objection is travelers of Karl Pilkington/Accidental Tourist variety, of which Catalan people are prime specimens. Others told me that when in Belgium, Italy or Germany, they ate at McDonald’s because “at least you know what you’re getting there.” They act as if NO OTHER PLACE has any food worth eating and generally don’t bother trying.

  2. Hahaha! Imagine that, bringing food to France of all places. Love it.

tell me something good

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s