Friday, June 3, 2011

Let's Eat Out(side)

After seven years I still don’t quite understand the French’s obsession with eating outdoors.  My husband used to look at all the big American houses with their impressive porches, decks, and backyard bbq’s and ask ‘Why don’t Americans eat outside all the time?  If I had a deck like that we’d eat outside from May through September!’

 Whenever I asked my mother-in-law why just about every summer meal is consumed outside (weather permitting)- she explained it’s because  ‘c’est agreeable’- it’s nice!  I guess being cooped up all winter and forced to eat indoors is kind of depressing to the French.  It never really bothered me, growing up in Connecticut.  We'd eat outside from time to time in the summer but most meals were consumed indoors.

I agree that on some occasions, like a picnic under a shady tree or a night time meal out on a screened-in veranda, eating outdoors can have a romantic, breezy feel to it that is pretty ‘nice’.
  
But to be honest I’m not a huge fan.  I’m more like those carnivores who prefer to take their dead carcasses to some isolated, shady place.  I don’t want it out in the open where bugs can get on it.  I don’t like wind blowing hair into my mouth when I go to take a bite or feeling as though I might faint of heat stroke before I get through the main course when the sun is actually cooking the food in front of me.

What about you?  Do you prefer to eat outdoors like the French or are you an indoor person when it comes to mealtimes?

35 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

Outside please. We lived on the beach forever so we always ate outside. Bugs never bothered me. Although down here in NC, it's a whole other thing. It's too hot to eat outside. Unless of course you have air conditioning on the screen porch. And the bugs are as big as cats. So this carnivore eats at the kitchen table by the window.

Emily White said...

If I'm at a restaurant, I like to eat outside if I can. At home, though, it's too much of a hassle. Plus, we don't own any outdoor eating sets.

Laura Pauling said...

Outside of if it's not too buggy. But if the weather is right, it is nice. You crack me up. :)

Grammy said...

Hey, Just don't like the outdoor picnic type thingy...growing up in the South, I have had my fill of trying to eat and fend off yellow jackets, wasps, mosquitoes, ants, just bugs in general. My idea of camping out is sitting inside a good comfortable motel room or hotel room and ordering room service, and having a good book to read while I am eating my food. I used to live about 30 minutes away from Cades' Cove (which is in the Smoky Mtns.) and was often invited to go with the Seniors to have a cookout breakfast. That was not my cup of tea. Give me indoors, please!
Ruby

Grammy said...

P.S. Add flies to the names of the insects that make it too pesky to eat outdoors.

Sarah said...

Eating outside can be very pleasant as long as the bugs aren't overwhelming and the scenery is nice. I do enjoy it in the summer, but am not as obsessed with it as my children are!

D. U. Okonkwo said...

Yep, outside works for me, though of course springing from London that isn't always possible. Bugs can be a problem, but a good whack usually does the trick!

Hart Johnson said...

I can think of a couple households in the US where 'outdoors' is the norm and i think it might be the same issue. It is about too many people in too small a space--My grandparents had a lake cabin... and it HAD two tables inside (the main floor was mostly just one big room) but outdoors was nicer because there were just usually about 10-12 people in a space that SLEPT us comfortably, but couldn't quite contain us when we were moving around. Then my BFFs house... when I am there, she has a full house (and a kitchen too small for eating).

I picture much of Europe having fairly little houses, too, and the Catholic countries would have a history of large families in those small homes. I bet the culture rose out of that.

Nicole L Rivera said...

Never given it much thought till now. Actually, in south Florida we eat more outside in the "winter". We would die of heat stroke if we ate outside in the summer (unless half our bodies are in the pool). Lol.

Meredith said...

I'm definitely an inside eater. Outside, with the bugs and the wind, is just too much work.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm totally with you. I don't get much enjoyment in being eatten by mosquitoes while I'm eating MY food. :P

Matthew MacNish said...

I prefer to cook outdoors (grilling) and eat inside, where there are less insects. Yuck!

Marisa Hopkins said...

My hubs prefers outdoors - he's British but he spent a lot of time in France growing up... so maybe that's why?

I'm all about eating indoors where the breeze doesn't blow your napkin away and where the mosquitoes leave you the heck alone!

Old Kitty said...

Oh I do like pub lunches outdoors on a nice warm day!!!! And a picnic on some isolated flowery field!!

But they do get spoiled a little by the various bugs and inedible bits and pieces blown in by the breeze!!!

Take care
x

Jennifer said...

My mother being Italian we often dined alfresco in my youth. I however feel the same as you and prefer to do my dining indoors.

Laura Marcella said...

I love eating outside in the summer! I live in an apartment building so on beautiful days (like today) I yearn for a big backyard and a porch or deck. Hmmm, now I'm annoyed that Americans are taking those things for granted when there are people like me who want to use them and don't have it. Maybe I should move to France, LoL!

mshatch said...

I love to eat out doors, as long as I don't have to get up and go back inside for everything I forgot 10 times!

Teresa Stenson said...

Outside, defo. We live in a garden-less appartment in the north of England and long for a bit of outdoor space. A balcony, a verandah! Such exotic house accessories. A glass of white wine on the verandah? Yes please!

Stephanie said...

I do like to eat outside but the bugs bother me. I do like to go to the park and take a lunch or our little portable grill and grill up some hotdogs. And if it's a nice day, not too hot or not too cold, i like to eat at a restaurant and sit on the patio. Can't explain why...I just do! :)

Caitlin said...

I'm an inside eater. Especially because it's already reaching the 100's here, I prefer to stay in the cool, comfortable, air conditioned inside.

Besides, Georgia bugs are monstrous.

Susanne Drazic said...

On a nice cool day, if I had a nice area where I could sit to eat, that is what I would choose to do.

Caitlin Vincent said...

If the wind isn't crazy and the bugs aren't out hunting, I love eating outside :)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I like to eat outside on special occasions. Not too often. The wind and the bugs annoy the heck out of me.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I can't convince my husband to eat outside. I ended up dragging my three year old outside for picnics under our pepper tree. Yes...leave fell on our food. Yes...tiny gnat carcasses stuck to our food.

Still fun. :)
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Eliza Wynn said...

I very rarely agree to eat outside. Like Nicole, I don't appreciate the wind/breeze and bugs.

Carolyn V said...

I don't mind eating outside, but I don't like the bugs either. ew.

Steph said...

I love to eat outside, but it isn't always practical. I suppose if I had fab. deck then I would more often as well. I am naturally lazy so i usually just eat in the most convenient place possible! I do like a nice beer on a pub patio though!

kelworthfiles said...

I don't mind eating outside every once in a while, but I think in general it's an inside thing, partly because you get fewer bugs, and just out of habit I suppose. It's not something I ever thought much about until now.

By the way, the poll is still open for what book I should read and share my thoughts about next on the Kelworth Files, and I really need book lovers, (particularly science fiction and fantasy) to give me their opinion. So, come by http://kelworthfiles.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/a-wizard-of-mars-chapter-fifteen/ and check out the poll options!

Dorothy Evans said...

Definitely inside for me. I don't need extra - and uninvited - protein in my food, thank you!

Talli Roland said...

I'm with you! Every once in awhile is okay for outside, but generally I prefer to eat in controlled environments!

Kate said...

Here in Blighty the days when we can eat outside are few and far between - so whenever we get the chance we do! I envy anyone who lives somewhere they can eat outside all the time!

Alesa Warcan said...

Heheh! I love the comparison with carnivores...
Eating outside has its advantages, but I prefer eating in bed when it comes to pick nicks! It's so much more comfortable... And it sets you up for the next courses too! ; j

The Desert Rocks said...

Katie, I live in a warm and wonderful place where everyone has these outdoor"rooms" with every imaginable fixture that includes fancy outdoor barbecue pits etc. Forget it. Like you said, bugs, wind and in our case uncomfortable heat makes it very strange most of the year. I'm with you-indoors where I can create a nice French sauce and not eat blackened, nasty food.

Fa L'Americana said...

And I only just realized you live in France... smart Haley, real smart.
I agree with you... I prefer menus that do NOT include passing insects. Call me narrow minded :P
However there is a very strong "campagna" (or country house) culture here in Sicily that typically means a lot of outdoor eating in the summer. I'm not a huge fan, but I do enjoy it for the festive atmosphere.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm more of an indoor eater. I hate all the bugs flying around me and my food. :-)

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