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Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why a bowl?

            I drink my morning coffee very slowly; in fact, it’s still sitting right next to me.  I’ve always enjoyed long mornings with the endless mug of coffee coxing my brain into full consciousness. I like to take my mug with me wherever I go.  This way, I get the full, long drawn out effects of caffeine and don’t have to gulp it down in one sitting.  But now I don’t have a mug; I have a bowl: a bowl of coffee.  The French breakfast table is not set with mugs, but bowls, and it’s not for cereal. Breakfast coffee is traditionally served in a bowl which is drank entirely at the table.  It’s a completely bizarre idea to them to walk around with a coffee at hand.  In fact, it wasn’t until a year ago that I saw a travel mug for sale, and that was in a specialty store. The idea just hasn’t caught on.  The truth is the French drink coffee quite differently than Americans do.
            A few years ago, I watched the 1998 version of Godzilla. In this version, Godzilla attacks New York City and Matthew Broderick is a scientist who tries to stop it.  He gets unwanted help from a French military guy played by Jean Reno.  Who, when he arrives in New York, asks for coffee and gets handed something in a large paper cup.  He takes a sip, spits it out, and angrily demands what the heck he was just given.
            “Coffee”, was the response.
Now what’s funny about this film is how it played right into a stereotype and a reality at the same time.  To him, the coffee was weak, too large, and had no right being served in a disposable cup.  Coffee has its place at the table, and is not something to be casually transported around.   He eventually came around, and by the end of the film, was running around with special ordered lattes and mochas.  It’s a sub story to the film, but one that I noticed immediately and felt akin to.
So, we adapt to new environments and new standards.  My terribly French husband wasn’t too thrilled the first time he saw me plant myself in front of the computer with the bowl of coffee next to me, but he’s gotten used to it.  He’ll even rewarm it up for me.  I’ve gotten used to well, my bowl.  It can’t go everywhere like a mug can, but I’m trying to resolve to drink it at the breakfast table, at least most of it anyways.

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