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Burger and/or Bio?

Burger du Mois at Burger et Fils - Paris, France

I only eat a hamburger one time a year — on the 4th of July. Otherwise, it went off my diet when I moved to France where there were baguette sandwiches and more ‘French’ things to eat than a hamburger. At the time, even baguette sandwiches were considered ‘snacks,’ not meals, and you never saw anyone eating them on the street. Burgers were purchasable at McDonald’s and Quick Burger, but rarely in cafés and brasseries.

Boy, things have changed.

Jean Dujardin commercial forQuick Burger - Paris, FranceJean Dujardin commercial for Quick BurgerAccording to an article in the Financial Times, the French downed 970 million burgers in 2013, amounting to one out of every two sandwiches sold compared to one in seven in 2007. Three-quarters of all restaurants now have burgers on their menus and have become their most popular offering. Shocked?

Burger bistrots are popping up everywhere. In fact, there’s one appropriately named “Bistro Burger” on rue Montorgueil and don’t you just love the name “Burger & Fils?” Time Out named their 10 favorite burgers, and food expert David Lebovitz has his favorites, too, but with thousands of restaurants, bistros, cafés and brasseries making burgers, how on earth would one really choose the best? This is like finding the best baguette or croissant in the city! Or a needle in a haystack!

The French eating burgers with knife and forkThe French eating burgers with knife and forkYou can tell the well-traveled French from those who haven’t had a real burger in its native land, because most of the French are still eating them with a fork and knife! This totally cracks me up — isn’t the point of the buns a way to hold the meat? You may recall that last year actor Jean Dujardin sat next to me at Café Charlot eating a burger with his hands! I couldn’t help, but said (in English), “Excuse me, but I just have to tell you that it’s great to see you eating the hamburger the CORRECT way — we don’t see it often!” To which, he laughed, gave me a smile and then continued to down it like there was no tomorrow.

The word “hamburger” really does come from Hamburg, Germany, from where many Americans emigrated, but according to it was invented by a Danish immigrant, Louis Lassen in 1900 in New Haven, Connecticut. The White Castle folks dispute that, tracing the origin back to Hamburg and to Otto Kuase, but they can’t argue that its popularity grew as a result of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair when the New York Tribune reported on it as an invention of a food vendor.

Men’s Health says burgers are addictive and bad for you. They call it “waistline trouble” — “Just one of these packs nearly 500 calories, 22g of fat, and nearly 1,200mg of sodium (that’s our daily recommended allowance) – and we’re not even counting the accompanying fries and soft drink.” And to make a meat patty taste better, fat is added. With so many calories, eating burgers will cause a blood-sugar spike which leads to a rapid drop thereby creating a craving for more! No wonder we love them so! Expect the French to get fatter while they’re getting addicted to the American hamburger.

American burger from Joe AllenAmerican burger from Joe AllenTo counter the bad health effects of burgers, the other food purveyor popping up all over town are bio/organic markets! Bio c’ Bon just opened up on the corner of rue de Turenne and rue Vieille du Temple (103, rue de Turenne), already busy as a beehive from the moment the doors opened just a couple days ago.

I’m confused. Burgers and bio? Burgers or bio? Bio burgers?

One thing for sure — I’m having a burger Friday night as a traditional gesture on July 4th…and guess where? Joe Allen, of course!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds, The Adrian Leeds Group IncAdrian Leeds

Editor, Parler Paris & Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, Inc

(eating her Joe Allen burger)

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P.S. Did you know that the Adrian Leeds Group offers everything you need for your visit or move to Paris or France? From luxurious vacation rentals at Parler Paris and Parler Nice Apartments to customized concierge services at Parler Paris Plus, long-term apartment rentals searches, purchase property finding services, currency transfers, loans and more, visit our site

P.P.S. This Saturday, stock up on your summer reading while suporting SOS Help at the Bag of Books Sale, July 5 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the steps of St. Joseph’s Church, 50 avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris. You pay only 5€ per bag…what a deal! For more information visit SOS Help


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