In America, we have freezers in our garages so we can buy in bulk to save both money and needless trips to the supermarket. In contrast, Europeans have small refrigerators. It's not necessarily because they don't have room or money for a big refrigerator. They'd actually rather go to the market in the morning. The market visit is a chance to be out, get the freshest food, connect with people, and stay in touch. While the popularity of supermarkets is growing, Europeans who value the traditional fabric of their societies still willingly pay a little more for their bread for the privilege of knowing the person who baked it.
In Beaune, France, the local Chamber of Commerce invests in an exhibit to help people appreciate the wine. Clearly, having a good nose in France is a life skill worth cultivating.
In Italy, they love their expensive red wine — but they also love their simple, fill-‘er-up-at-the-gas-station wine. Italians get their table wine cheap at filling stations like this.
French farmers fatten their geese to eat their livers, which they consider a delicacy. They force-feed the geese four times a day. Then, when their livers grow from a quarter-pound to two pounds, they slaughter them and eat the fattened liver, or foie gras. The English travel in droves to France's Dordogne region to enjoy this gourmet treat. Animal-rights activists worldwide object to the treatment of the geese, and for a time, foie gras was actually illegal for restaurants to serve in Illinois. But French farmers don't understand all the fuss. They tell me the tradition started when their ancestors caught geese who had fattened up their own livers to make the migratory trip to Egypt. They found them very tasty and decided to raise them there, help them fatten those livers, and spare them that long flight to Egypt. They claim that geese are designed to grow fat livers, and they pride themselves in creating fine living conditions — as the quality of the foie gras depends on the quality of life the geese lead, right up until the day they are slaughtered.