American moms living abroad have been having a moment lately, sharing unconventional and surprising differences between parenting cultures in the U.S. and places like Norway, Denmark and France.
A Paris-based mom is going viral after she revealed the after-school snack she makes for her kids that would get you so much side-eye in the pick-up line at school.
Isabelle Bertolami (@isabellebertolami) is an American mom and registered dietician, living in Paris with her family. She shared on her TikTok that French children don’t have “conventional” after-school snacks. Instead, they eat something called goûter.
“French kids don’t have an after-school snack,” she wrote on the video alongside footage of her carrying a large French baguette. “They have a goûter — a sweet treat to bridge the gap between school and dinner.”
Goûter is the French verb for “to taste.” In its noun form, le goûter refers to snack time for children.
“A typical goûter usually consists of cookies and some kind of drink — usually water … Other popular goûter choices, especially for goûters served at home, include pastries and viennoiseries like pain au chocolat or pain au lait, or a piece of bread with some chocolate squares on it,” website French Together explains.
Bertolami goes on to film herself making one of the classic goûter rrecipes, which she calls “baguette et carré de chocolate” aka a baguette with salted butter and chocolate. Sounds delightful.
Unsurprisingly, this transplant mom was met with tons of comments from followers who wished they could have swapped their apple and peanut butter afternoon snack for goûter when they were a kid.
“Butter AND CHOCOLATE?? I have accepted the goûter lifestyle 🙏,” one user wrote in the comments.
“How do I become a small child in France,” pondered another.
“Wait…butter and chocolate on a fresh baguette? Will you adopt me? 🥺” another user wrote.
“My grandma made me bread + butter + Camembert for goûter 😂 best memories ever,” another user wrote.
While the idea of an after-school snack is nothing monumental, the type of snacks that French parents make for their kids would have many American parents scratching their heads.
Imagine for a moment handing your kid a giant piece of bread with a slab of cold butter and a couple pieces of chocolate inside. You would definitely be a hot topic of conversation.
However, Bertolami swears that this kind of snack (and several other foods that American kids would probably throw across the kitchen) are totally normal in France.
“French kids pretty much eat everything,” Bertolami says in another video explaining what she enjoys about French parenting. “And that’s because they eat with the parents eat.”
“Parents don’t make double meals for their kids here, and we’re really lucky because the schools here expose them to all the foods that adults eat starting from daycare when they start eating, so this is kind of just natural,” she adds.
One user commented on the video, noting that her upbringing in Brussles was similar. “Growing up in Brussels I love escargot, mayo with fries and my palate was exposed to phenomenal things 🥰”
In another video, Bertolami details what French children eat for lunch at school. “I love the food that my daughter eats at her public school in Paris,” she says. “It’s always the same. There’s a starter, a main dish, a side, a cheese course, and then a dessert.”
One of the meals consisted of fruit salad, pizza, and organic yogurt for dessert. Another meal served to the kids at school included toast with organic goat cheese and a salad, then battered fish, organic green beans, yogurt with sugar sprinkled on top, and a banana for dessert.
Several commenters noticed the stark differences between the food served to kids at a public school in France compared to one in the U.S.
“American schools could never 😔,” one user wrote.
“I really wish they could,” Bertolami replied.
Another wrote, “I genuinely wish American schools would catch up!! Our students deserve better meals than processed-packaged-half frozen entrees out of a box!”