Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 20 of 116 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
.....and other French quirks.

I've just noticed that every time I get a side of broccoli, green beans, or carrots at work or in a restaurant, they are way overcooked to the point of tasteless mush.

Why? No wonder France has a far lower rate of vegetarianism that most other Western countries. Someone needs to teach them how to cook and spice veggies properly (it's not that hard!).
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
Welcome to one of the many well-kept secrets of France. Judging by my mother-in-law (now long gone), this does seem to be a "thing" from the older generation. It's apparently considered "risky" to some extent to consume under-cooked vegetables. My sister-in-law insists on having "fully cooked" veggies (even those fresh from the garden), not done "in the American way" which to her is merely warmed up. And even DH prefers certain vegetables from cans - I assume because those are certainly "fully cooked" just like his mother used to make them.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
'you can take the boy out of Sarf London, but you can't take Sarf London outta the boy'
Joined
·
1,757 Posts
It's not just a french thing. You should try Ireland , where my parents are from, or on the other side of europe, the greeks/cypriots who will happily simmer vegetables for hours.

Welcome to the 'old' world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
It's not just a french thing. You should try Ireland , where my parents are from, or on the other side of europe, the greeks/cypriots who will happily simmer vegetables for hours.

Welcome to the 'old' world.
It's interesting. In Canada vegetables are usually steamed, and almost never placed directly in boiling water. The steam brings out the colour and softens it slightly, but still maintains the flavour and much of the crunch.

Broccoli is my favourite vegetable but here it tastes like a plate of soggy napkins if ordered as a side dish anywhere. Don't get me started on ratatouille, basically zucchini porridge.

Guess it's a trade-off for all the wonderful cheese.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
I remember Smeg mentioning this in another thread!

I like overcooked vegetables. I hate barely steamed kinda-hard but only-slightly-soft vegetables that we get in America. I like the soppy smoosh. I also have digestive issues so maybe my stomach appreciates already halfway digested things, LOL

(the risk with smooshy vegetables though is if they are sopped in grease or something. that's not good...)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I remember Smeg mentioning this in another thread!

I like overcooked vegetables. I hate barely steamed kinda-hard but only-slightly-soft vegetables that we get in America. I like the soppy smoosh. I also have digestive issues so maybe my stomach appreciates already halfway digested things, LOL

(the risk with smooshy vegetables though is if they are sopped in grease or something. that's not good...)
Fair enough. I also have some digestive triggers that I must take care to avoid.

But a problem with smushed vegetables, apart from lack of flavour, is that the long simmer in boiling water pretty well leaches all the nutrients out of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,787 Posts
Yeah before I found out (no thanks to doctors) the culprit to my ongoing sickness, one of the doctors I visited told me to walk around with a thermos of hot water and drink it along with every meal to help my stomach digest the food. I mean, it felt nice but it didn't solve the problem.

You're right about the nutrients. My mom and I debate over this preference...she likes the hard steamed stuff and I like the smush possibly crisped even if on a skillet magic (as in, cooked to death but then slightly getting crispy if left on too long). But yes, something being cooked to death kills the nutrients. Hmmmmm decisions
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,985 Posts
.....and other French quirks.

I've just noticed that every time I get a side of broccoli, green beans, or carrots at work or in a restaurant, they are way overcooked to the point of tasteless mush.
It is because they don't know the basic rule for cooking vegetables.

If they grow above ground you put them into boiling water to cook. If they grow below ground you put them into cold water before boiling.

The amount of times I have had to explain that to people :)
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
18,642 Posts
LOL - I grew up in the UK and at the time the vegetables were drastically overcooked! It was the same in Australia back in the 70s, although my French Dad (who trained as a cook in France) never over-cooked vegetables - both my (English) Mum and I learnt not to overcook veg from him. His youngest brother, who died a little over a year ago (and remained in France), also trained as a cook and he never over-cooked vegetables either. OTOH a French aunt and one of my cousins both overcook veg, but I thought that was perhaps related to their ages (plus my cousin spent 20 years in Morocco). OMG, the French even eat what Aussies call 'mushy' peas - horrible!

I cook vegetables lightly and in a myriad of ways and I'm pleased to be able to report that my French family happily eat them and even ask for my recipes (I don't use recipes, so they don't get them, just a vague summary of how I cooked something on that day). Funny thing is, I tend to cook veg with a French or Italian twist - always have.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
I suppose the tendency to overcook vegetables could be a reason why so many French people don't really eat many vegetables. Which is a real shame, given some of the lovely produce available in most of the local marchés.

And pity the poor vegetarians in France. If you ask for a vegetarian menu (say, for a wedding party or other pre-arranged event), you generally get either just the non-meat parts of the meal everyone else is getting or a plate of steamed (usually over-cooked) vegetables. This is complicated by the fact that, like the Germans, the French tend to use meat to "season" some veggies and they often don't understand why that might be a problem for a vegetarian.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I suppose the tendency to overcook vegetables could be a reason why so many French people don't really eat many vegetables. Which is a real shame, given some of the lovely produce available in most of the local marchés.

And pity the poor vegetarians in France. If you ask for a vegetarian menu (say, for a wedding party or other pre-arranged event), you generally get either just the non-meat parts of the meal everyone else is getting or a plate of steamed (usually over-cooked) vegetables. This is complicated by the fact that, like the Germans, the French tend to use meat to "season" some veggies and they often don't understand why that might be a problem for a vegetarian.
Cheers,
Bev
Indeed I said as much in my OP re: vegetarianism.

The rate of vegetarianism in France is estimated at around 3-4%. For comparison, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK are all up around 10-12%. US/Canada I believe fall somewhere in between.

As a "vegetarian with exceptions" (sushi being the most notable exception), I need to scrutinize restaurant menus online before eating out, and if miraculously I find a meat-free option the French still seem to have a way of sneaking ham into it.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,415 Posts
If sushi is an exception, there's even a name for that: pescetarian (i.e. a vegetarian who will eat fish and seafood products).
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
'you can take the boy out of Sarf London, but you can't take Sarf London outta the boy'
Joined
·
1,757 Posts
I suppose the tendency to overcook vegetables could be a reason why so many French people don't really eat many vegetables. Which is a real shame, given some of the lovely produce available in most of the local marchés.

And pity the poor vegetarians in France. If you ask for a vegetarian menu (say, for a wedding party or other pre-arranged event), you generally get either just the non-meat parts of the meal everyone else is getting or a plate of steamed (usually over-cooked) vegetables. This is complicated by the fact that, like the Germans, the French tend to use meat to "season" some veggies and they often don't understand why that might be a problem for a vegetarian.
Cheers,
Bev
I once travelled around Ireland with friends, one of whom was vegetarian. When asked at one pub/restaurant , what they could provide for our veggie, the chef replied 'well i suppose i could do you a ham salad'..........absolutely true.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
It is because they don't know the basic rule for cooking vegetables.

If they grow above ground you put them into boiling water to cook. If they grow below ground you put them into cold water before boiling.

The amount of times I have had to explain that to people :)
Except new potatoes which should always go into boiling water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
In my younger days it was common for cabbage to be boiled for several hours - it tasted vile, it was a khaki colour and leathery. The secret with cabbage and other green veg is to put a inch of bicarb in the boiling water bring back to the boil after inserting veg and cook for no more that 10-12 minutes - it still comes out green and is perfectly cooked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,985 Posts
whatever I microwave vegetables first and then cook them on a skillet because I am super classy and healthy
I HATE microwave ovens.

Did you know that Percy Spencer (American) invented the microwave oven ? I just googled that :) Poinltess invention Mr Spencer. It just makes food all soggy and tasteless.

Did you know that Fletcher Davis invented the hamburger ? Never understood why Americans call beefburgers..... hambugers when they are made out of beef and not ham. :confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,566 Posts
Did you know that Fletcher Davis invented the hamburger ? Never understood why Americans call beefburgers..... hambugers when they are made out of beef and not ham. :confused:
They were originally Hamburg steaks, i.e. steaks from Hamburg (similar to the derivation of the name Frankfurter or Yorkshire pudding or Lancashire hotpot...) Fletcher Davis (who he?) had nothing whatever to do with it. The practice of putting them in a bread roll/bun was only so that Americans could indulge in their disgusting habit of eating in the street.
 
1 - 20 of 116 Posts
Top