Culture Through Cuisine: France


For many, experiencing cuisine is a way of life. Cuisine is a large part of what makes different cultures unique from others.  We at

Photo of Justine Biettron

Justine Biettron, Graduate student from Lyon, France.

International Programs (IP) know that, unfortunately, not everyone gets a chance to travel the world, visit other countries, and taste the cuisines that make a country unique.  Therefore, we are reaching out to international students and faculty at LSU in hopes of learning about cuisine unique to their home countries. IP wants to spread culture through cuisine without readers actually having to leave the United States!

Justine Biettron is a graduate student here at LSU working as a peer advisor in Academic Programs Abroad (APA). She is from Lyon, France, and is studying Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations. Certain circumstances lead her to LSU, and she is so happy studying here that she does not want to leave. She loves everything about the LSU environment and mentality. She loves the promotion of “If you want to succeed, you will” because she says the French are very pessimistic. She feels like she was born to live in America.

International Programs (IP): Many would say that an important part of cultural integration is cuisine. Do you agree? Why? Why not?

Justine Biettron (JB):  Yes, you don’t realize how important food is to a culture. This is the hardest part for me. I miss French food so much; American food just does not compare.

 IP: What do you believe is the most important about experiencing cuisine from other cultures?

JB: Food is a huge part of culture. To actually be involved in the culture you need to eat what they eat. Here, to become “American” I try what they eat. You have to embrace the culture in totality.

 IP: Are there any dishes specific to your home country?

JB: Yes, there are. There are three specific to my city, Lyon: Gratin Dauphinois, Praluline, and Quiche. Gratin Dauphinois is a dish consisting of potatoes, cheese and cream. Praluline was invented in Lyon. It’s pralines in this delicious cake.

IP: Which dish do you miss most from your home country? Can you describe it?

JB: It’s going to sound so simple, but I miss the sandwiches. My favorite was ham, emmerual and sometimes with some butter. The bread is just amazing. Also, Raclette! Raclette is melted cheese spread over ham and potatoes and sometimes served with charcuterie.

IP: Which dish of Louisiana cuisine do you love the most? How does it compare to your favorite dish of your home country?

JB: Jambalaya is my favorite dish here. I like it because it’s not too spicy, I have problems with spice. Honestly though, it does not compare to any French dish at all.

IP: Are portion sizes in Louisiana comparable to those in your country?

JB: No, they are way bigger here.

IP: Healthy foods are becoming more of a trend in the U.S. Is that also the case in your home country?

JB:  Healthy food has always been prominent in France and amongst French people. The health movement is just better in France and Europe in general compared to the U.S. In France, healthy eating is more advanced and way more affordable.

For many people, cuisine is connected to a sense of home and comfort. If a person is eating something they would normally eat in their home country, they can feel better adapted to any new surroundings. The United States is generally associated with burgers, fries and other fatty foods. IP wants prospective international students who choose to come to LSU to know that this is false. Yes, there are burgers and fries, but the great city of Baton Rouge has amazing cuisine from all around the world that will make a person feel right at home! Besides, New Orleans is a short trip away with a multitude of other options. IP wants to help keep readers connected to their culture through cuisine and most importantly make LSU feel like their home away from home!

Enjoy this delicious French recipe for Quiche Lorraine from Justine!