Silly questions

Some of the chocolate we have in the house at the moment
Some of the chocolate we have in the house at the moment

Before we head off to the market a couple of days each week, Bill and I always check the refrigerator to see what fruits and vegetables we might need. That really is only the starting point since we kind of just say “yes, we need fruit” or “no, we don’t need potatoes but we have no other vegetables” and then just see what’s available as being in-season and a good value. Since the open-air market can’t supply everything for us, we do have to walk to the supermarket about once a week. Bill was checking the cabinets and asked me “Do you think we have enough chocolate?” as he held up the 7 large bars we had on hand. What kind of question is that?

In an earlier blog post I talked about all the chocolate shops in Carcassonne and the large displays that even the supermarkets have. It’s fun, and tasty I might add, to pick up a bar or two while we’re out and experiment with the flavors. We do that with the breads, cheese, wines, and even some fruits and vegetables we’ve never seen before at the market. Now that we’re retired here in France we have a lot of opportunities open to us that were not there before. To us it means that some questions that were valid in Atlanta, no longer apply.

The way to buy coffee: 3 kilograms/6.6 pounds at a time
The way to buy coffee: 3 kilograms/6.6 pounds at a time
  • Would you like another glass of wine? I’m not driving and we don’t even own a car.
  • What time do we have to get up tomorrow morning? Any time we like; we’re retired.
  • I wonder if they’ll speak English? Yes, they will but only once they realize that their English is better than our French.
  • How much tip should we leave the waiter? Nothing or maybe a euro or two. Generally speaking servers here are paid a living wage and treat this as a career.
  • Is there a boulangerie (bakery) nearby? Although no longer on every street corner, there are still plenty of places to get fresh baguettes and croissants every day.
  • What time will the restaurant start serving alcohol on Sunday? In Atlanta we never went out to lunch before 12:30 because you could not get a glass of wine with your meal until then. Here, it’s pretty much if the restaurant/bistro/café/bar is open, they’re serving alcohol.
  • Where can we find spray cheese in a can? I’ve never actually asked that question and I’m not about to start in a country that boasts over 400 distinct types of real cheese.
  • Is today a holiday? There are 11 public holidays in France and everyone takes them to enjoy time with family and friends. There are also 11 federal (bank) holidays in the US. Just sayin’.
  • Do you expect the town will have a museum? Every city, town, and hamlet here has a museum and maybe even a tourist office. There’s always something to do.
  • I wonder where the fruits and vegetables came from? Grocery stores and even most of the vendors at the market display signs where their produce originated. The biggest signs are from the farmers who grew everything themselves.
  • Should we buy more coffee? The photo here tells the story.
  • And of course, do you think we have enough chocolate?

5 thoughts on “Silly questions

  1. Marvelous. Although we do have to ask “When does the Boulangerie close for lunch?” However, most of ours are going the “sans interruption” route nowadays.

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  2. When I had a French tutor years ago, one of the lessons I asked for was a trip to the supermarket. She explained what many products were–some are the same as in the U.S., but plenty of things appear in very different formats, and if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t be able to guess. This was before the proliferation of cell phones with Internet; now you can just google.


    1. In the USA they have canned “processed cheese food” that comes out of the can like whipped cream. It bears no resemblance to any cheese I have ever purchased.


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