Living in France, you quickly take note of the big cultural differences: the French speak French, they complain about everything almost as much as I do, they have a knack fornonchalance par excellence (which I’m still working on acquiring), they are still champion smokers. After a while, you also pick up on the little things … like obsession with peanut butter.
It’s a really funny observation when it first strikes you. Peanut butter is not at all a common food item in France. When you go to the supermarket, you see lots and lots of jellies and jams of every conceivable flavor (including at least a dozen varieties of plums), you see an entire section of Nutella, more varieties of honey than you knew existed, and chocolate … shelves and shelves of really good chocolate. But you don’t see a lot of peanut butter. It’s still “exotic” here. Little French boys and girls never grew up on PB&J sandwiches the way we did. That’s why, I think, the French are absolutely enamored of this most American of foods. The proof: my luggage every time I travel back from the United States.