My internship has come with many perks. The company is paying for half of my monthly metro pass, there is a small gym with a trainer and group classes available for free (yes, even to us interns), and there are two in house lunch dining options available with very reasonable prices.
Up till now, I have avoided eating at French cantines(dining halls/canteens). My first experience was during my time as a teaching assistant. They didn’t have anything that accommodated vegetarians, and so I would just make myself a sandwich and eat in the teacher’s lounge.
Next up, as a student, the cantine still didn’t have many vegetarian choices, and since I didn’t want to pay €3,50 for a plate of fries and over cooked carrots, I brought leftovers from the previous night’s dinner that I would reheat in the student’s lounge.
But now, as an intern, I eat at the cantine. There are many more options for vegetarians at this cantine, and for that I’m greatful. Plus, they have understood that it is disagreeable to pay the price of a meat meal when you don’t take meat, and charge less for a vegetables-only plate.
All of this is a vast improvement from previous cantine experiences, and I am grateful for cheap eats, especially as everything is expensive in Paris.
That said, I just don’t understand why the French culinary greatness can’t extend to vegetables. It has been my experience that the French think they can just boil a vegetable until its soft, put absolutely no seasoning, herbs, or spices on it, and declare it done.
Normally I love broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, but every time the cantine serves them they are just lukewarm mush.
After three months, I now know which plates I like and which plates I don’t, and more often than not, the dishes served fall into the don’t category. I’ve gotten pretty good at picking and choosing parts from different dishes to make up a worthwhile plate, but I still think side dishes should be just as important and flavorful as the main attraction.
That's why I put herbes de provence on my hauricots verts(green beans).