I'd been living in Paris for almost six months when one evening while my French friend and I were sharing a cheese plate at a bar in the 18th arrondissement, I noticed her looking at me with concern. She appeared to be taking issue with the way I was applying the creamy Roquefort we were enjoying to the piece of bread in my hand.
"You know, you shouldn't spread it across the whole piece of bread," she said disapprovingly, picking up the knife and a piece of bread to illustrate her point. "You should put the portion of cheese on the corner of the bread and just eat that part. That way you get to enjoy the flavor of the cheese more, and you won't be eating so much bread." It made so much sense—and I quickly realized that I had been eating cheese the wrong way my whole life.
My friend's effective tutelage in cheese etiquette is an example of the many French eating habits that allow the consumption of not-so-healthy foods in healthier ways. In fact, the year and half that I lived in France completely redefined my eating habits—for the better. Here are some of the lessons I learned.