Obviously American

11/10/2012

 
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Thanksgiving - American grocery store in Paris
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The Real McCoy - American grocery in Paris

Obviously American - It's all in the name

     It's very difficult to avoid writing about the Christmas lights and holiday decor which are popping-up across Paris right now.  I'll save that for my next post.  Instead I'll talk as much about Thanksgiving as is fitting for Paris.  It's the name of one of the two American grocery stores in Paris. That's it. That's all. No more.  You might think it's obvious, but you would be surprised how often I have been asked whether Thanksgiving is celebrated in Europe.  I guess I could say yes; on every American military base across Europe, our troops and airmen are eating Thanksgiving meals.  As for Europeans, unless they have lived in America and have adopted the holiday (which I doubt) they don't celebrate Thanksgiving.  Most Frenchmen have probably never heard of a pilgrim or the history and folklore surrounding our holiday.  Many of them may have seen actors eating Thanksgiving dinner in movies, but even more than Halloween, Thanksgiving is a strictly American historical event and holiday celebration.  Therefore, as I said before, in Paris, Thanksgiving is no more than the name of an American grocery store.  So that's what this post is about.
     I understand that some expats in Paris may longingly miss instant macaroni and cheese or the nine million different cereals and candies available to us in the USA.  I'll even admit to the convenience of boxed cake mixes and jello puddings, but they seem horribly anticlimactic to me because Paris offers the mother lode of cuisine and desserts.  I personally get a kick out of introducing my friends in France to some of our instant cake or brownie mixes, and yes they are good, but not worth the postage it takes to ship them when you consider that almost every corner in Paris is sporting a patisserie loaded with the finest desserts you'll ever eat.   Nevertheless, there are two crave-fulfilling, American stores  in Paris for those odd items that you can't live without while in France. 
    Both of the American stores have a nice variety of unique, regional American items and their employees offer the sound of an American accent when your ears need a break from French.  The biggest clue that they're not typical French stores is their names.  Thanksgiving   and The Real McCoy are names that stand out so uniquely amongst the neighboring signage that it's evident to passersby that these two stores are selling something different.  You can also see in the photo above that The Real McCoy has a facade which mimics a building in the USA rather than Parisian architecture.  American through and through.
     As the holidays come around each year, expats visit the two American stores to place orders for the necessary ingredients to make their typical Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.  They can also order canned pumpkin or place orders for pumpkin pies. The Real McCoy also has an American cafe which sells lunch and dinner.  It's a pretty good place for the locals to order a bagel or a nice hamburger.  The Thanksgiving store, for many years, ran a popular cajun restaurant at a different location, but eventually down-sized and moved the restaurant upstairs above the store.  The owners closed the restaurant in 2010, but they continue to carry a wide range of American products, take orders for special holiday items and because of continued demand, they still sell a wonderful American cheese cake that was popular in their old restaurant.
     If you have the time while in Paris, and you happen to be in the Marais neighborhood, which is the home of Thanksgiving , or you're in the area of Rue Cler and the Eiffel Tower, where The Real McCoy is located, you should visit the stores and check them out.  You can thank them for spreading a little American patriotism and comfort food.  When you leave the store, you should immediately pay penance by going directly into a French restaurant where you can order a creme brulee and a double espresso. 
Just in case you needed an excuse.   M.


 


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