Alexia from Trello shared that France is a secular country, but there sure is one religion that all French people share—food and eating.
With its rituals, omnipresence, and etiquette, eating is a pillar of French culture and social interaction. It not only has an impact on how families interact and bodies are fed but it’s a central part of our professional lives, from closing deals to building strong team relationships.
So besides helping us enjoy a glass of wine with some cheese, what can French eating culture teach us about the importance of taking the time to focus on interacting with each other at the workplace?
The Value Of The Ritual
In 2010, UNESCO declared French gastronomic meals a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, officially highlighting the importance of French rituals at the table for the world.
.In their own words,
“[t]he gastronomic meal should respect a fixed structure, commencing with an apéritif (drinks before the meal) and ending with liqueurs, containing in between at least four successive courses, namely a starter, fish and/or meat with vegetables, cheese and dessert. […] The gastronomic meal draws circles of family and friends closer together and, more generally, strengthens social ties.”
They highlight that it “emphasizes togetherness,” which is a great tie to all the ways in which we try to build culture and connection as teams.
As a French woman who has been living abroad for almost a decade now (and married to a Brazilian man), I have learned the hard way that my table rituals were actually not shared by everyone in the world. Although perfectly logical to me, spending long hours at the table may feel like a burden to non-French people.