Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bowl O' Beans

We'd only been in France for two weeks when we were invited by my aunt and uncle to go stay in a gîte in the beautiful village of Lagrasse. We were excited because it would be our first excursion out of town.

We were given our own room downstairs where it was very quiet and cozy, and we slept like babies. What I mean to say is, we'd slept in! We never heard the noises of people getting up and around, starting the morning brew, clanking dishes while setting the breakfast table.
After waking, we proceeded up the stairs to check out the breakfast possibilities. Everyone was already seated and in the process of le petit déjeuner when I noticed that every person was drinking from cereal bowls. I felt like something was amiss and I seriously thought they were playing a joke on us.

My face must have said it all because just then, my French aunt said, "Ooh, you must be shocked to see us drinking from bowls. We forgot to tell you that French people drink coffee and hot chocolate from bowls like this."

I must have had a look of disbelief on my face, for I have never seen anyone at my aunt and uncle's house drinking like that! She went on to explain, "Your uncle has Americanized me! That is why we drink coffee from mugs at our house. But I assure you, French people usually drink their morning coffee from bowls like this. Do you want to try?"

I like to experience other cultures, so I tried it. It was a bit strange at first but I liked the feeling of cradling this bol and letting it warm my hands and face as I sipped. But the downfall was that my coffee got cold way too fast.

So why do they drink their A.M. hot beverage like this? Well, as it was explained to me, it's so you can have enough room to dip your croissant or chocolatine into.

Since I don't like wet bread, nor do I like lukewarm coffee, I'll stick with the good ol' American coffee cup.

But I still think it's very cool!

(Top photo: Happy-face coffee bowls I purchased in Toulouse...I have the matching cups too!)


La Belette Rouge said...

Bonjour, CC
I am looking for French coffee bowls and am having trouble finding them here in the states. Maybe Père Noël can find them for me.

My Inner French Girl said...

Oh, I love this tradition! I'd heard the same from Anne Barone and had forgotten about that. It's very warming and cozy, no? The Japanese do the same with soups -- they put them in these oversized, wide-mouthed ceramic bowls (except for miso soup, which usually comes in the small black plastic bowls with the painted red interiors) and drink the broth after they've eaten the "stuff" with their chopsticks. It didn't take long for me to get used to it, and I must admit that it really does taste better this way!


Blame It on Paris said...

The bowls! How my husband misses his good French bowls. Maybe that's an idea; I should somehow sneak some home for him for this Christmas. :)

Lyrically speaking said...

I recall when I was younger in Haiti that's what they did, dip their hot bread or patties in milk or coffee and I never understood why. Lovely post, really enjoyed

Cris in Oregon said...

I saw some of those BOWLS for drinking out of on Paris Breakfast blog. Was wondering when they were used. I dont think I could handle something hot in them like that with my tender fingers... but they would be good for dunking. :)

Cassoulet Cafe said...

BR-check out Ebay and if they don't have them, go to (Ebay France). They have the coolest Banania ones (I love Banania stuff! Will do a post on that soon!)
Lyrically speaking-I emailed you about Haiti...and merci beaucoup for stopping by my blog :)
CRIS-the bowls are thick and the coffee cools so quickly that it's just warm in your hands, not too hot. ;)
BLAME and INNER FRENCH-thanks for coming by again!

Betty C. said...

I hate to be a party pooper, but I've never gotten into the drinking from bowls thing...I guess that's because I still like to drag my coffee around the house à l'américaine and bowls just don't do it for that!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

BETTY, Don't worry, you're not a party pooper ;) As I said, I prefer my good ol' American cup. I do just like you...drag my mug around all morning and/or day, drinking and reheating in the micro...until the pot is gone.
We rented a furnished flat in France and used the coffee bowls only for what they are intended for: cereal! lol :) Oh, and, uh....(blushing)cassoulet.
My bowls I took home are actually used for Banania regularly though by my daughter. They bring back good memories for her.

WendyB said...

Those happy-face bowls are adorable. And I don't even drink coffee!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Oh man just to have all that chocolat for breakfast...I'd lap out of a dish or plate...whatever!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Don't drink coffee? Well, you could put some rich hot chocolate in there! :) I love those bowls too!

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Don't drink coffee? Well, you could put some rich hot chocolate in there! :) I love those bowls too!

sheryl said...

You can purchase those coffee bowls at William Sonoma. I bought two last year that were off white with French writing on them....