French grocery store adventures that will turn you into a vegetarian

Written by Diane on. Posted in France, on healthy living, on life in France

french grocery store make you go vegetarian

I’ve always loved grocery shopping and my outings to French grocery stores delight me even 5 years in. There’s always something new to be discovered and the French brands and products never get old. Sometimes they freak me out. I respect the fact that people have their own eating habits and preferences, but I can’t say you’ll ever see me willingly ingest any of what you’re about to see below. I purchased exactly zero of the items pictured. And seriously contemplated becoming a vegetarian. If you’re sensitive to pics of meat, skip this.

GO!

French grocery store adventures that will turn you into a vegetarian

Please note this is just for entertainment/informational purposes. I know there are a multitude of reasons why people choose a vegetarian lifestyle including animal rights, health, etc. and there’s nothing wrong with being a vegetarian or a meat eater. We all do what works best for us.

I often talk about differences between French and American culture on the blog, and I think seeing meat packaged this way in the US might freak some people out. Just sayin’.

So just to put it out there, I eat meat and have my entire life. I also enjoy vegetarian meals. After seeing the variety of meats time and time again in French grocery stores and becoming queasy, I wonder if I could make a vegetarian lifestyle work. I’m sure these types of meats are delicious. My father-in-law eats all of it. Call me a prude American or “fake” meat eater, but the meat pictured below will never make its way onto my dinner plate. I’d rather slaughter my string beans and quinoa than think about the poor animal… which is really easy to visualize when it still has eyes. French grocery stores get you up close and personal with a variety of animals.

If I’m being real, there’s something disturbing to me about killing another living thing, even if it is for food. I don’t hunt. I don’t want to see an animal struggle. I couldn’t imagine working at a slaughterhouse and want to be as far away from that as possible. Buying meat in the US was no big deal and it usually isn’t in France either. Meat looks like meat most of the time, but other times it looks like the animal it is.

French foods I won’t touch >>

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting French grocery store finds as of late:

Zebra meat

zebra meat france grocery store

I took this picture just after Christmas after realizing zebra meat must be a holiday find. Exotic meats aren’t the norm year-round at French grocery stores. I saw ostrich and even alligator as well and it seems to be just a winter specialty. And yes, that’s actual zebra meat being sold above.

Baby goat

chevreau baby goat

I can’t get enough goat cheese, but goat meat? And worse, BABY goat? Just no. I saw this god awful thing at the grocery store, and after I snapped this pic of the chevreau, I kept on walking. No. Thanks. Ever.

Pig

whole jambon french grocery store

This giant jambon entier took up half of the case and could probably feed 20 people. I guess it’s great for a party, but I’ll be taking a pass on it. What do you even cook that in?

Rabbit

rabbit in french grocery store

Why do they have to keep the eyes on it like that?? Poor thing. I had a rabbit as a kid growing up and this hits too close to home.

Horse

Cheval horse meat

I’ve heard horse is delicious but I’ll never try it to find out. Horses are pets where I’m from and it’s one type of meat I won’t touch.

Cow tongue

cow-tongue-in-french-grocery-store

Gosh, that is a HUGE tongue. It would just feel wrong chowing down on another living thing’s tongue… as yummy as it may be. Non merci!    

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Have you seen anything horrifying in the grocery store lately? 😉

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french grocery store make you go vegetarian

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Comments (10)

  • Molly Wilkinson

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    ouf! Almost as good as the charcuterie stand at the market I go to where he has literally every piece of the pig on display from the ears, to the snout, to the curly tail!!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Oh man, curly tail?? I don’t think I could buy any charcuterie if I had to face the curly tail. Too real, man. In Honfleur, I got some saucisson for my MIL who loves the stuff, and the shopkeeper insisted that we try some special jambon and carved it off a leg that still had a hoof!

      Reply

    • Diane

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      I think some people would absolutely agree with you. Some probably taste great but ethically I have to draw the line!

      Reply

  • AmericanInFrance

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    I’m freaked out when the fish come to the table with the skin on, tails, eyes – ick! The French have told me that the eyes were left in originally to show the animal wasn’t diseased (I understand this is why it’s a big thing in China still as well).

    I eat several meats here that I’d never really tried in the US, including rabbit, but I’ve yet to eat anything with eyes. I was completely grossed out by the fact that the chicken, turkey or duck that we could choose for part of our company holiday gift all had HEADS on them still, which I was expected to chop off myself. I opted for just giving it to a co-worker! My other American co-worker does the same and our French colleagues get a good laugh out of how freaked out we are about it.
    AmericanInFrance recently posted…Learning French, McDo’s and How the French Diet Turns US Advice on Its HeadMy Profile

    Reply

    • Diane

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      The first time I ate fish with eyes was in Croatia. I cleaned the fish first and then put the skeleton and head under a napkin so I wouldn’t have to look at it. Problem solved!

      Oh my gosh, I could never chop the head off myself. Glad you were able to “rehome” it!

      Reply

  • fiona

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    As I know the French are quite big on offal, I expect more of it in the supermarket than here in the UK. The rabbit is the only thing that freaks me out though!

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Yeah, the rabbit still looks like a rabbit in the packaging and that doesn’t sit right with me. Ick

      Reply

  • Monsieur Win

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    Rabbit, tongue and even horse (very famous “saucisson de cheval”) are really common in french food culture. Rabbit with mustard or wine is a classic one for a sunday lunch (and it’s really good, you should try !) 😉

    Reply

    • Diane

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      Will take your word for it 😉

      Reply

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