Typical French Food La Baguette

Looking for typical French food in Paris?

My fave typical French Food – La Baguette : French bread stick

Typical French food - La Baguette - The Bread Stick, bought fresh several times a dayThe most typical French food la baguette – is a French bread stick. Ever seen those photos of French people with a beret on their head, and a long bread stick under their arm? That bread stick is called a baguette.

The French live differently from Americans and Australians and many other nationalities. The baguette is a perfect example – it’s purchased just before you need to eat it, and you would never use it on the second day [unless you don’t mind really stale hard bread which is as hard as a brick]. They’re cheap enough to simply buy a fresh one whenever you need them, and the bakeries [boulangeries] are everywhere.

Paris food

I have a funny story to tell. The first time I lived in Paris, an Australian friend [Steve] was living in Paris for 3 months, and was doing the ‘starving artist’ routine. He wasn’t actually starving, just enjoying Paris as an artist, on a 3 month scholarship which included a small studio [atelier] to live and work in.

Steve’s a quirky guy, and there was something about left-over baguettes that he sympathised with. He couldn’t bring himself to throw them out. So he painted them – that’s right, nice bright acylic colours. And then he nailed them to the walls of his studio in creative designs. :-)

Sounds funky and funny, doesn’t it? Well, we thought it did … until the landlord had a look – what a scene that was!

So – before I tell you more about the baguette, promise me you will not keep your old half-eaten baguettes, it only leads to trouble. :-)

The Meaning of Baguette

When I did some research about baguettes, I found some interesting facts at wikipedia, a website which is edited by anyone and everyone. I found that the literal meaning of the word baguette is stick-shaped loaf. According to Wikipedia, the long thin bread loaf became popular in London when its recipe was brought back from Paris by travelling Englishmen. The French word, with a diminutive ending added to the root, came from Latin word ‘baculum’ meaning a’‘stick’.

The Half Baguette is a Bastard – well, a Batard, actually

Typical French food - La Baguette - The Bread Stick, made all over FranceNo, no – please don’t think I’m swearing. If you buy a half-size baguette, it’s commonly known as a ‘batard’, which is the French word for ‘bastard’. I’ll see if I can find out why and let you know (update! read Comments below).

Tip! La baguette bread is not a close relation of the baguette diamond.


Buying food in Paris

Buying a baguette in Paris is very easy.  You can already say “baguette”, so if you want one only, you ask for, “une bagette” [pronounced like, “Oon bag-ett”].  Of course you want to be polite, so you need to add ‘please’ to the request:

“Une baguette, s’il vous plait.” = “One baguette, please”

After you’ve paid, don’t forget to say, “Merci!” or even, “Merci bien!” = “Thanks!” or, “Thanks a lot!”.  You may even want to say, “Merci beaucoup,” with a smile, which means, “Thank you very much.”  Buying food in Paris was never easier.

How to eat a baguette

As typical French food la baguette is simple to eat. Break off a portion, spread with jam for breakfast, ham and salad for lunch, or paté for cocktails. Such a versatile piece of food!

If there is a baguette on a table, you will not normally be provided with a bread and butter plate, or butter. Simply break off a portion of the bread over the tablecloth, and rest it on the table near your plate.

Baguettes can differ from town to town, suburb to suburb, region to region, and you will find specialty baguettes in different parts of France.

What is la baguette made from?

*Cornflour, yeast, salt and water. There are strict rules regarding the traditional baguette-making process without additives or additional substances of any kind.

*Please note: I have it on great authority from one of my readers (Michael) that “cornflour” isn’t used in the Cordon Bleu bakery school in Paris — they insist the traditional recipe uses unbleached wheat flour (farine de ble non blanchie).

If you enjoyed the baguette – on of the most typical French food varieties, you might like to read about the other  some famous French food.