Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used to make chocolate chip cookies often. It started in graduate school and continued until I moved to France. I brought cookies to grad school classes. I brought cookies to my office. I brought cookies when invited to dinner. People often asked me for my recipe (toll house). I believed I made a good batch of cookies.

So it came as a shock when I moved to France and no one ate my cookies. The adults would try one and say something like "boy, these cookies are sweet" and not ask for another. The children didn't even bother trying the cookies. I stopped making them for a while. Then my kids got older and I started to make the cookies occasionally.. but only when I had some American event to go to.

But I put myself out there today and made cookies for my last French class of the school year. Women from, as I've mentioned before, Germany, Czech Republic, Korea, Poland, Spain, Ireland and Australia who had never tasted a chocolate chip cookie before. They were all very kind and ate their cookies. My French teacher even asked what kind of dough was used.

For fun and just to be crazy, today I also brought in a dozen cookies for the teachers at my children's school. When I brought the cookies in to my daughter's teacher she asked if they were for the class and I said, in French, no, of course not because that is forbidden! (only store bought goods are allowed). She smiled and I asked if she'd give the cookies to the secretary, so the secretary could place them on her desk for all the teachers to have one. The kids told me their teachers liked the cookies. I've found something American that the teachers seem to think is ok... bringing in cookies for them to eat!

One final note about American food. My son had his best friend sleep over this weekend. Usually I go out for baguettes and pain au chocolat but since my husband wasn't around I didn't want to leave the apartment. I didn't have any chocolate cereal... what the boy usually eats for breakfast. So I asked if he'd eat corn muffins. First of all, muffins are not a popular food item here. They exist, but they are hard to find. They aren't typical. I seriously couldn't figure out how describe what a muffin was to this little French kid. Finally, my son points out that I could get the corn muffin mix box and show his friend. So my daughter hands him the box to the friend and his face contorts....corn! (definitely not a popular food item and as I've been told before, is usually associated with feed for animals) and in muffin form? It was a no go. We ended up having waffles because he's familiar with the French version -- gaufres. It was a huge success.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:46 PM



Wow! That was a big hurdle, the one w. your son's friends. Interesting how one learns what is perceived and how. Hmm, I think cookies to the teachers too, another big hurdle. In France, is is seen as a warm gesture to bring food? Or the opposite? Terry in SF

# posted by Anonymous : 12:09 AM  

it's hard to believe that anyone would not like chocolate chip cookies ... one of life's staples!

# posted by Becca : 4:34 AM  

An Aussie who has never had chocolate chip bikkies? Must have lived a sheltered life :-)

# posted by /anne... : 7:11 AM  

What's the rationale behind the "store-bought goods only" rule?

# posted by Lisa : 10:34 AM  

You gave we Americans a taste of France :-). What do the French give thier children for sweets and snacks? I enjoyed reading your post.

# posted by Maggie Ann : 2:37 PM  

Life without chocolate chip cookies is not a full one.(-:

I'm lucky to get any, the kids eat the dough so fast I'm always making a double batch.

# posted by BohemianMama : 6:26 PM  

I am actually quite surprised. I have been here for 17 years and my french friends BEG me to bring my special american cookies to their homes instead of wine. I also use the toll house recipe but i skimp on the sugar. Perhaps that is all one needs to do?
BTW, they also adore NY style cheese cake.

# posted by Anonymous : 6:51 PM  

I do notice that only french people eat plain baguettes with Nutella and pain au chocolate. That is what we ate every day for breakfast when I stayed in Paris.

# posted by mrsmogul : 7:15 PM  

It's bizarre, non? Muffins (especially corn muffins, my fave) and cookies! How could they not enjoy them-- crazy. ~bluepoppy

# posted by Anonymous : 8:15 PM  

Mmm c'mon over to my place. I'd love it if you brought ME cookies & corn muffins. So would my French husband !! Anytime :)

# posted by chrisc : 8:34 PM  

I left France almost 7 years ago, and there were chocolate chip cookies and brownies being sold in every boulangerie... Maybe people realized they were too sweet and the boulangeries stopped selling them?! Also, having grown up in France, I admit to turning up my nose at corn bread and corn muffins. It has chunks of corn! Ugh.

# posted by veronique : 9:19 PM  

I just made a batch of CCC for my 7 year olds's class (to celebrate this month's birthday kids) and as usual, they were a big hit. My kids are always really proud of them, as it's obviously something no French mom is bringing to school... (I can't make a good apple tart for the life of me so....)I also top them off with an M&M, and they have always been a huge success (or everyone is lying to me...). However, the NY cheesecake failed several times.

The corn muffins don't go over in my neck of the woods either. I have grown US corn in the country the past few years, and when our neighbors out there come around, they're always surprised that I'm growing corn for HUMAN consumption.

So when's the next CCC contest? !!

# posted by Magillicuddy : 9:44 PM  

Terry, My son's friend is very picky anyway... aren't most kids. I'm always so happy to find a kid that eats a wide variety of things, but it's rare. Not sure how the cookies were taken.. since I got a couple of thank-you's and the empty container back I will assume the best.
Becca, I know!
Anne, Well the Aussie was new to our class and doesn't speak much. She didn't say anything about the cookie.
Lisa, I guess they think someone will poison the food. Just kidding. I think it's more for allergy concerns. I think many schools in the US also ban home baked goods.
Maggie Ann, There are store bought crepes filled with nutella and brioche bread with chocolate that seem to be very popular with the French kids I know.
BM, I completely agree! My son and husband love the batter too. They would definitely rather eat that then the cookie.
LD, Maybe it's my baking skills? I agree that cheese cake is very popular, but since my kids won't touch it, I've never really made it. Also, it's difficult getting the right cheese (some variation of cream cheese). If you have a good recipe, share it!
Veronique, I had to think about that. There are brownies at the fanciest of chocolate stores. I don't see them in the typical boulangerie. Cookies.. I do see a couple of types in my local bakery, but they look more like a sugar cookie.. hard, but good. I never see anyone order them...although some people must, I guess.
Magillicuddy, Ok. Now I'm really convinced it's just my ccc! Really, the kids won't eat mine! I swear, it's true. Went to Picard today and saw that they started carrying corn kernals again (I've been on the look out). My kids love corn.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:15 PM  

Sacré bleu! No one ate your cookies?! I miss those cookies! Oh the humanity.

# posted by DC-Giant : 9:05 PM  

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