ANGERS: Things That Aren’t Actually French


I hope I’m not the only one who was ignorant enough to believe that everything we label as “French” actually originates from France.

French Bread

So, turns out the bread my mom brings home from HEB sometimes for special occasions is not actually French. When I asked some of the French students what they call French bread, they responded, “…bread?” And honestly, French bread doesn’t really exist in France, even under a different name. With a boulangerie on every corner, you would be a dummy to buy processed bread from a grocery store. Maybe Americans call it French bread because it vaguely resembles the shape of a baguette. If you have ever bought an authentic, traditional baguette though, you would know that our “French bread” is not comparable to the real deal.

French Toast

This one came about after a girl in my Botany & French Cuisine class made us “Pain Perdu,” which literally translates to “old bread.” I was craving it for a few weeks after that class, and I finally convinced my French friend to make some with me. When I described the ingredients and cooking process, his response was a head shake and “ze Americans ruin ze French cuisine.” He let me cook it my way but almost gagged when he looked at the frying pan and discovered that I used the entire egg, not just egg whites. He also couldn’t understand why you would put cinnamon, powdered sugar, and other such toppings on French toast.

French Kissing

This one is a mystery. I have asked almost all the French people I know what a French kiss is and the usual response is “I still have no idea.” French people do not kiss any differently than Americans, as far as I can tell. My best guess is that French people’s infamy for public displays of affection landed them their very own “type” of kiss.

French Manicures

I’m not sure of every French woman has her own DIY kit, but I have not seen a single nail salon in Angers. I googled “nail salons in Angers” with one of the Americans just to see what came up, and the only result was some expensive spa place. All I want is some clean cuticles and a white tip, and France can’t even offer me that? So much disappointment.

French Fries

Now, I did know that French Fries aren’t actually French, but I have a feeling that many Americans don’t know that. Here, and in most of Europe for that matter, people refer to them as “frites” or “frites pommes.” Ironically, a lot of the items on the fast food menus here are labeled as “American.” At the City Snack just two blocks from my residence, there’s a sandwich called “the American” with burger patties and fries INSIDE a panini. I guess that’s what we get for misnaming our greasy delights “French fries.”