1. You had your first drink before your 10th birthday.
Cider is nothing but a tastier version of apple juice and nobody ever made a big deal out of the kids drinking some with their crêpes. It won’t get you drunk, it won’t hurt your health, and it’s good to develop your pallet to the things that make life enjoyable. Needless to say that wine, mixed with water or not, was also part of your early culinary education.
2. You still don’t eat between meals.
There is only one acceptable time to snack and it’s four o’clock. Your mom would always make sure that there would be no sneaking in the kitchen for some biscuits during the rest of the day; you have to do with three meals and one goûter (usually bread with butter and jam to be dipped in hot cacao).
3. You’ve been threatened by her express tidy-up process.
When your room was a mess and you remained passive to your mom’s many requests to clean it up, the threat of throwing away the toys laying around was on. You had about 10 minutes to get all your crap off the floor and into your toy chest. You can still hear her opening the drawer where the roll of 100 litre plastic bags was kept and tearing one of the damned things in some kind of vicious ceremony. You’ve never moved as fast as when you heard her coming up the stairs!
4. You’ve eaten more crêpes in your life than anybody else can claim.
Crêpes are the easiest and cheapest thing to cook and these pieces of information did not go unnoticed by your mother. She’s made crêpes so many times that she does not even use measuring cups, she just throws some flour, eggs, and milk in a bowl with a dash of rum and supper’s ready! Yes, supper, not breakfast or snack time; who’s to say that a sugar-and-butter crêpe cannot replace a good salad once in a while? Certainly not your mom!
5. You got the best rewards for being good.
Whatever the achievement, a good mark in school, good behaviour at the doctor’s, or keeping your room tidy, when it came to rewards, your mom was the best. A warm pain au chocolat or a Pierrot Gourmand lollipop from the bakery did the trick every single time.
6. A soupe au lait was a typical summer dish.
After a hot day of summer playing outside, your mom was never in the mood for cooking. The kids (me and you) were wrecked and had to eat fast before being sent to bed, so a soupe au lait (milk soup) was in order. Crisp bread broken at the bottom of the bowl, sprinkled with white sugar, and covered with cold milk was as easy and typical as it was delicious!
7. You still don’t really know what colds are from.
If there’s one thing you’ve been told by your mother over and over again, it’s how to not get sick. “Put on your scarf,” “Don’t go out without your coat,” “Wear your slippers,” and “Don’t leave the house with your hair wet!” were orders to be followed if you did not want to “catch death” (aka, a cold). From your mom’s perspective, colds have to do with being cold and viruses are unrelated to plugged noses and achy muscles. Not only do you believe her very unscientific theory, but now that you are all grown up, you repeat the exact same thing to your kids, boyfriends, etc.
8. “Le Roi dit nous voulons” was her mantra.
Kids can be very self-absorbed and French mothers know how to remind them that they are not the centre of the universe. If you spent too much time saying “Je veux” (“I want”), your mom knew what would shut your trap: “Le Roi di nous voulons” (The King says we want”). There’s nothing like shaming your children by telling them that they are being selfish little things to make them think about their poor behaviour.
9. You’ve been tricked into eating an unbelievable amount of soup.
Parents know that the best way to make kids eat veggies is by blending them into soups. Well, French moms know how to make them eat lots of it. According to your mother, soup is the French equivalent of growth hormones and, therefore, is solely responsible for you reaching your unbelievable 1.64-metre height (5’4″).