A Taste of Garlic

Bread is Pain - Rhône-Alpes

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceBread is Pain is the blog of a “30-something American living in the Rhone-Alps, France with my French boyfriend. This is my 3rd country to live in outside of the U.S. but the first one that is non-English speaking. While I’m here, I’m getting my masters degree from the U.S. (online), studying French, and slowly eating and drinking myself through the country.”

Which is kind of strange as I thought that… “slowly eating and drinking myself through the country”

Was my job?

Well, let’s not hang around; this is a largely foodie blog so…

Let’s put on our bibs and…

Dive in and see what there is to eat!

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Beginning Bits….

The blog starts in May with breadispain saying… Bonjour!

She also tries to say the French word for bread but…

With slightly less success!

Still, there are Small Victories a few days later when breadispain manages to go to the butcher, speak french with the poor chap and buy (presumably) what she went there for in the first place!

So, so much better than all those other new expats in France that you see exiting butchers shops clutching a cow’s stomach or a handful of pig’s brains wondering why they couldn’t remember the right French word for hamburger!

Having conquered the butcher’s shop, breadispain moves on to the snogging bits!

In Laugh to keep from Crying she describes how she nervously gets introduced to the kissy-kissy stuff that is so contrary to our Anglo Saxon natures…

Then she warms up a little bit (and maybe starts to enjoy the whole thing?)…

Before freezing and, as she says… “we just stood there and stared at each other. It was like some terrible, awkward western film, both of our heads vibrating nervously, like hands at the sides of pistols. I looked around for help; was I supposed to go in first or was that weird? She continued to stare, wordlessly, motionlessly. It was an inexorably long two minutes. Finally, my boyfriend came over and said, “You are supposed to kiss her.””

From kissing, breadispain quickly turns to stalking in an attempt to make friends.

In Will you be my friend? Check ‘yes’ or ‘no’. she says that… “I have found that making friends in a new city is very much like trying to date.”

Personally I just go round kissing complete strangers at random until I find one who doesn’t act shocked or surprised – but that’s just me!

breadispain thinks it may take 3 to 6 months for her to find some new friends but warns us… “So, we will continue to endure and await the unexpected, but until then, stay alert and watch out, we might be stalking at a bar near you.”

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Cheesy Bits….

In Congratulations! You’re having a Cheese Baby! breadispain finds that her favourite pair of jeans have shrunk in the wash and blames it (like so many Girlies of the American Persuasion who move to France) on the cheese!

Anyway, someone really ought to tell the poor girl that French kilos are lighter than American ones!

Still, breadispain proves that she has The Right Stuff when she confesses her devotion to cheese (of the French persuasion) in… Le Fromage: Part 1, The Faith

Which I feel is an apt title for a post about cheese because…

In France, cheese (and all other food, if I were to be honest) is a religion!

breadispain describes her moment of enlightenment on The Road to Damascus (you can tell I went to Sunday School, can’t you?) when she says…

“on our second date, my boyfriend (from now on to be known as MB: ‘Monsieur Boyfriend’) offered me some of his cheese that had been shipped to him from France, the stench was over-whelming and wildly romantic. We locked eyes and he waited with anticipation as I took my first bite. The flavor was transcedental; something between passion and hatred. The satiny, smooth, milky richness sat in my mouth for but a moment before transforming itself and pinching the sides of my tongue with tangy, bitterness. My eyes rolled into the back of my head and when I came-to, I again found the gaze of MB; there was a new understanding between us, I had been brought into the fold.”

Yes, it was a bit like that for me too (minus the French boyfriend bit!)

So it comes as a horrendous surprise to find, in Fromage Part II: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, that she spends most of the post trying to get the aforementioned boyfriend to…

Clear out all the stinky, smelly, lovely French Cheese from the fridge!

Still, all’s well that ends well and breadispain ends up having just the tiniest nibble of something really stinky and old!

After, that is, she proves her mastery of the complex subject of the french and their Cheese by saying…

“The French attitude towards cheese is sort of like the porn industry’s attitude towards sex…no matter how bizarre your tastes are; someone out there is making something for you.”

Yes, girl! You’ve got it bang on!

And it’s not just cheese; they’re like that with all their food!

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Other Edible Bits….

In Dinner will be from 6pm-2am we learn that…

“The French do not know how to leave a dinner table.”

One doesn’t really want to ask… “Why on earth would they want to?”

But breadispain certainly knows how to prepare for a meal out…

In Genetics and Aperitif we discover that breadispain secretly bulks up before a dinner party…

In order to absorb the vast quantities of alcohol that she has not yet become genetically acclimatised to!

Which is a shame as she goes on to admit…

“At one of the first dinner parties we hosted, I learned the dangers of beginning the evening in France with an empty stomach. I will sum it up by saying at the end of the night I may have fallen off a chair, I definitely started a country music dance party, and I picked a ridiculous fight with MB a la “overly emotional teenage girl at prom”; there was crying. The following 24 hours was spent nursing both a hangover and my ego.”

Perhaps the poor girl needed a drink after learning that… They eat horses, don’t they?

Oh yes! We certainly do! Yum, yum!

And, so does breadispain – twice (and once raw!)

Well, as I always say…

If a girl can’t enjoy a nice lump of raw horseflesh once in a while…

There’s really no point in being alive!

Still, Sometimes they eat vegetables in France.

Although breadispain did have to go to Provence to discover that!

In the Rhône-Alpes she finds that a salad comes… “dressed with things like poached eggs, foie gras, gesiers (gizzards), magret de canard, and a variety of other fattening and delightful items.”

But, in a Provencal restaurant she is told not to order Foie Gras!

I do, however, have a sneaky feeling that her waiter might just have been a German on work experience?

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Particularly French Bits…

I think that it takes a rather special kind of blogger to be able to say, when pointed in the direction of the toilet in a bar…

““There are penises in there.””

And, in Of Notes and Neurosis breadispain proves that she is a really rather special kind of blogger!

Even if, as she says… “This is why, at the ripe age of 30, a chaperone had to accompany me to the bathroom”

Although I have to admit to a bit of confusion…

Didn’t breadispain realise that Frenchmen have Penises?

Or that they occasionally use the toilet?

When she says… “I opened the door, walked in, and found myself staring at a man peeing in the urinal.”

She should just be grateful that she doesn’t live in rural (and slightly backward) Brittany!

Our local Frenchmen (or, should that be Bretons?) seem quite happy to whip out their todgers in the high street (or what passes for a high street in Brittany – we are a bit behind the times) and happily water the Daffodils in full view of anyone who may just be passing by!

breadispain continues along much the same lines in French Modesty where she examines American attitudes to nudity, semi-nudity and gynecologists before promising…

“…the next time I meet one of MB’s friends I’ll trot out in my underwear!”

Bravo girl!

Blog about it when it happens!

And remember – without photos, it doesn’t count!

Perhaps it’s no surprise that breadispain starts talking to herself?

In A Month of Sundays, she has a long conversation with France in which she learns pretty much everything there is to know about France (apart from avoiding those restaurants which employ German waiters who tell you not to order Foie Gras?)

And, finally, in Sunday, Bloody Sunday! breadispain learns that France tends to shut on Sundays…

And in Brittany, Mondays too!

And about 58 times a year we have Jours Feries when everything shuts as well!

And then, of course, there’s August – everything shuts for that too!

And during the mushrooming season or the hunting season, everything (at least, in my little part of rural and almost medieval Brittany) tends to shut up shop…

Not to mention lunchtime; nothing is open between the hours of 12:30pm and 2:30pm!

I could go on….

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe Just Plain Weird Bits…

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceAnyone who believes that going on a nice, relaxing holiday should be like the fireworks and facepaint scene from the second half of Apocalypse Now should really read Holiday Savagery: Would Ralph have survived bad traffic? before….

Moving to France!

But, if you’ve lent out your copy of that fine film…

This might sort of explain…

““MOTHER F*CKER! Are you f*cking kidding me?!” The car in front of us lets the interloper in. MB falls on the horn, I flip the bird. It’s like Lord of the Flies, one person has disrupted the order of civilization by skipping the line and we both revert to being savages. I can practically see the smoke coming out of MB’s ears and I keep grabbing handfuls of my hair.”

In Jamais Deux sans Trois breadispain does the Losing Passport just before Taking International Flight thing that has become so popular these days and…

In Which Way Do We Go? she follows up with one of those posts about getting lost in a rental car that no one knows how to control…

With parents on board…

Trying to appear all grown up….

And failing…


I implore you to read the post in its entirety; however, if you are pressed for time or…

Like me, peeing yourself with laughter…

These three sentences really sum it up…

“My Father keeps attempting to get the car into reverse and the car keeps inching forward. We are stuck, in an illegal parking space a block from the hotel which is in the opposite direction on a one way street. If we go forward any more we will ram the car into a poll.”

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceSo, Summing Up…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Bread is Pain and I rather think that you might too!

If you are prone to weeing yourself laughing then I’d suggest a strong pair of incontinence pants…

You’ll need them!

So, rush down to Bread is Pain to catch the latest from breadispain’s adventures in France.

And say hello to breadispain from me…

She’ll be the one trying to make friends whilst.. ““slowly eating and drinking myself through the country””

And me? Well, I am going to try and discover The Truth About Cats And Dogs.

I think that breadispain sums things up perfectly when she says (comparing America to France)…

“The French, on the other hand, are more nonchalant, more aloof, more likely to have the cat-like attitude. “Ah, you feed me and what, I am supposed to be grateful? Pfff…I will piss on your shoes.””

Well, I did warn you about all those French men waving their todgers about in the high street, watering the daffodils?

All the best

rhone alpes  Bread is Pain   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By Laura, September 21, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

    Great review! Had me laughing just as much as her blog does 🙂

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 21, 2011 @ 1:39 pm


    It’s a great blog, isn’t it?

    I can’t wait until she gets to the eating snails/boudin noir/pig’s brains bits!

    All the best


  • By Crystal, September 21, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

    I met the author of Bread is Pain last week in Grenoble and she’s lovely 🙂 Me, Bread is Pain, and Grenobloise got to meet in person and they are awesome as the blogs they write!

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 21, 2011 @ 7:51 pm

    Hi Crystal

    Yes, I noticed something to that effect in the comments on breadispain’s blog – she certainly sounds lovely (and just a little bit mad – I like that in a girlie!)

    I know I keep taking the pee out of the poor woman (I think that’s a London phrase) – but Gigi at French Windows is probably quite lovely too, even is she does have a dodgy taste in music!

    All the best


    P.S. Patiently awaiting the next video of your Green Stripe and Silver Kitchen!

  • By breadispain, September 22, 2011 @ 1:57 pm


    Thanks so much for the totally awesome ‘shout out’ (how many American sayings can I fit into one sentence)!

    Ha – I can see I’m going to have to work very hard to get back in your good graces after attempting to throw out my boyfriend’s cheese. 😉 I will eat something funky just for you this weekend.

    Oh – and affirmative: I am definitely a bit mad! 🙂


  • By Grenobloise, September 22, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Bread is Pain – I love her blog and she is my good friend here in Grenoble! She is awesome!!!

  • By Gigi, September 22, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

    I heard that Keith.

  • By Gigi, September 22, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    I’ll pop along and have a look at Bread is Pain – sounds great 🙂

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 22, 2011 @ 6:19 pm



    All the best


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 22, 2011 @ 6:20 pm


    She says she’s a bit mad so the two of you ought to get along really well!

    All the best


  • By Keith Eckstein, September 22, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

    Hi Grenobloise

    Yes, I know, breadispain is great but…

    She does like Bonnie Tyler?

    I mean, that’s got to be a bit suspect, hasn’t it?

    All the best


    P.S. I am beginning to notice a bit of a trend in musical tastes in Grenoble.

    I need more evidence before I make a definitive statement but…

    You don’t happen to like anyone horrible like David Cassidy or Donny Osmond by any chance, do you?

  • By Jacqui, September 22, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    Oi Keith, stop picking on Breadispain I too love Bonnie Tyler (esp Total Eclipse)

  • By Keith Eckstein, September 23, 2011 @ 4:57 am

    Outnumbered, the poor blog author retreats to a part of the blog where there are less Bonnie Tyler fans!

Other Links to this Post

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Digg button Stumbleupon button