More Proof that French Kids DO Eat Everything

French kids in Amerique profonde, smelling flowers. “Ca se mange?” One of them asks. “Can you eat these?”

What a joy! I recently spent a morning at Sunstead Farms, a local produce farm, with French chef David Baruthio (chef/owner of Baru 66), pictured below, his wife, Sara Hill (co-owner of the restaurant Baru 66) and two of David’s children, sons aged 10 and 13, who are visiting from France.

David was sourcing produce for the restaurant’s nightly specials for the next few days. His children were simply along for the ride. They speak little or no English, but seem approachable and up for anything.

Perusing the garden with the boys made me think of Karen Le Billon‘s book, “French Kids Eat Everything”: After moving to her husband’s native France, this North American author discovered how French kids are raised to eat what their parents eat. No chicken nuggets for them.

What I loved watching was how interested Baruthio’s boys seemed in the food being grown. The boys ran around, peeking under big leaves at the produce hidden underneath, pointing at things that looked good to them. At one point, the eldest smelled some lovely flowers, “Ca se mange?” he asked excitedly. (Does one eat these?) He said it in a way that suggested he would be perfectly happy to do so.

Later, as papa was picking herbs, the boy asked where the rosemary was. I don’t know about you, but at 13, I wasn’t asking my parents where the rosemary was growing.

Trying to engage the kids as much as possible, I kept asking the littlest guy, “ça s’appelle comment, en français?”  (What is this called, in French). Whenever I’d hold up anything green—chard, sorrel, arugula—the answer was the same: “C’est du salade,” he’d say with a smile. It’s salad. It seems the fellow would be perfectly happy to eat anything in a salad.

Their willingness to eat everything might, however, go a bit too far. When asked what their favorite American food was, their answer? Le beef jerky. 


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