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How does the 2 REP (FFL) compare to the British Paras?

French military food mirrors standard French fare. A lot of fresh bread (in baguette form) is eaten.

As I recall, regulation breakfast in the “Ordinaire” / “Réfectoire” i.e. Cookhouse / Dining Hall (Junior Ranks Messing Facility) was served early (from 06.00) and consisted of sweet black coffee or drinking chocolate which was served in a bowl. You got half a baguette of bread, butter, jam or honey or sometimes chocolate spread. Traditionally the bread was dipped in the beverage bowl.

Lunch was at Midday. It usually consisted of a salad and pate starter (with bread) followed by a simple main dish of meat/fish accompanied by a carb of some sort (potatoes/rice/pasta/couscous etc.) and a vegetable.

Dinner usually had a soup or broth for a starter (with more bread). Another main consisting of meat/fish, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable. Often thick stew or casserole type dishes like “cassoulet” or “choucroute garnie” were served. Dessert was fruit or maybe a cake or tart or cheese.

I’m open to being corrected or amended by others who were there at the time, as it was a long time ago and memories change.
 
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French military food mirrors standard French fare. A lot of fresh bread (in baguetteis eaten.

As I recall, regulation breakfast in the “Ordinaire” / “Réfectoire” i.e. Cookhouse / Dining Hall (Junior Ranks Messing Facility) was served early (from 06.00) and consisted of sweet black coffee or drinking chocolate which was served in a bowl. You got half a baguette of bread, butter, jam or honey or sometimes chocolate spread. Traditionally the bread was dipped in the beverage bowl.

Lunch was at Midday. It usually consisted of a salad and pate starter (with bread) followed by a simple main dish of meat/fish accompanied by a carb of some sort (potatoes/rice/pasta/couscous etc.) and a vegetable.

Dinner usually had a soup or broth for a starter (with more bread). Another main consisting of meat/fish, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable. Often thick stew or casserole type dishes like “cassoulet” or “choucroute garnie” were served. Dessert was fruit or maybe a cake or tart or cheese.

I’m open to being corrected or amended by others who were there at the time, as it was a long time ago and memories change.
You missed mid morning casse-croûte ( usually ham in a baguette ) if you had time to get it and money to pay for it .
 
You missed mid morning casse-croûte ( usually ham in a baguette ) if you had time to get it and money to pay for it .
Absolument!
I was dwelling on the regulation “réglementaire” meals. But, yes second breakfast or “casse-croute” is a French tradition, but it was not supplied by the “Ordinaire” or Cookhouse.

In 2REP in my time we had about half an hour between the end of the daily morning PT and muster for the next activity, when you went to the Company Club for casse-croute which usually consisted of half a baguette filled with ham and cheese and a couple of stubbies of Kronenbourg. The price was reasonable.

Unless you were a new arrival and hadn’t yet “earned the right” to take up space in the Company Club first thing in the morning, most personnel went there for breakfast, where there was proper good coffee, and fresh croissants and “pains au chocolat” from the bakery in town, again for a reasonable price.

If you were on some sort of duty and could not make the cookhouse for lunch or dinner or you felt like something more, you could always buy a burger or a sandwich in the Company Club, but it really was no substitute for the main meals at the “Ordinaire”.
 
To continue reminiscing about food at the time I served in 2 REP:

One of the more memorable eating occasions was the "mechoui" (pronounced "mesh-wee"). At certain celebrations, sometimes in the field, a young goat or sheep was spit-roasted over hot coals. This was a tradition dating back to when the Legion was stationed in North Africa and is a traditional meal there. One can procure some very tasty mountain goat in Corsica. This was usually washed down with mugs of rough red wine.

On one occasion on exercise in Corsica, a couple of Tahitians organised an earth-oven cook-out loosely based on this technique: Ahima’a | Traditional Technique From Tahiti | TasteAtlas
I can't remember what was in the meal, but I do remember it being very tasty.

Sometimes, especially at weekends, some of Legionnaires in a platoon or company would get together in one room in the block, set up some gas stoves and cook a meal from their home country with ingredients either bought in town or sent in by parcel. By regulations nobody should be cooking in the accommodation, but as electric kettles were almost unheard of in France at the time, it was usual for many Legionnaires to boil water on camping-gaz stoves in their rooms to make coffee in the morning, so a blind eye was turned to having such items in the rooms.

I remember when a Brit brought back an electric kettle from leave, one of the Frenchmen in his room looked at it in a puzzled way and asked if it was some sort of strange iron!

The Brits tended not to do much cooking in the rooms, they were more interested in drinking! One chap, a former merchant seaman who had done the vendanges (grape picking) at a vineyard in the south of France befoe joining the Legion was sent a couple of crates of that vineyard's produce the next year. We had a party that night and the theme song was "Red, red wine by UB40".
 
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French military food mirrors standard French fare. A lot of fresh bread (in baguette form) is eaten.

As I recall, regulation breakfast in the “Ordinaire” / “Réfectoire” i.e. Cookhouse / Dining Hall (Junior Ranks Messing Facility) was served early (from 06.00) and consisted of sweet black coffee or drinking chocolate which was served in a bowl. You got half a baguette of bread, butter, jam or honey or sometimes chocolate spread. Traditionally the bread was dipped in the beverage bowl.

Lunch was at Midday. It usually consisted of a salad and pate starter (with bread) followed by a simple main dish of meat/fish accompanied by a carb of some sort (potatoes/rice/pasta/couscous etc.) and a vegetable.

Dinner usually had a soup or broth for a starter (with more bread). Another main consisting of meat/fish, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable. Often thick stew or casserole type dishes like “cassoulet” or “choucroute garnie” were served. Dessert was fruit or maybe a cake or tart or cheese.

I’m open to being corrected or amended by others who were there at the time, as it was a long time ago and memories change.

I went falling out of planes with a bunch of French reservist officers from Paris for a week. The first morning I dapped out for breakfast and was busily buttering my croissants before noshing down. We were all sat around a table and they were all ripping their croissants, and baguettes, into chunks and dipping them in their coffee. Strange behaviour I thought, next morning I gave it a go and have been doing it ever since.
 

Dwarf

LE
I went falling out of planes with a bunch of French reservist officers from Paris for a week. The first morning I dapped out for breakfast and was busily buttering my croissants before noshing down. We were all sat around a table and they were all ripping their croissants, and baguettes, into chunks and dipping them in their coffee. Strange behaviour I thought, next morning I gave it a go and have been doing it ever since.
I learned that when researching Le Chemin de Dames WW1 battlefield and I was given a pit for the night by two very nice ladies. Sorry no joy and no pics.

But I live just over the border in Catalonia, one hour from my house and I'm in Perpignan. I've been to France fairly often camping. But the one thing I can't get away with is that the baguettes are mainly air and wind. If you don't make them into a sarnie they just don't fill unless you eat a truckload.

I do like French cooking though and became a huge cous- cous fan as a result.

Divert ended.
 
I learned that when researching Le Chemin de Dames WW1 battlefield and I was given a pit for the night by two very nice ladies. Sorry no joy and no pics.

But I live just over the border in Catalonia, one hour from my house and I'm in Perpignan. I've been to France fairly often camping. But the one thing I can't get away with is that the baguettes are mainly air and wind. If you don't make them into a sarnie they just don't fill unless you eat a truckload.

I do like French cooking though and became a huge cous- cous fan as a result.

Divert ended.
Couscous is a North African dish, which the French have adopted whole-heartedly. A bit like the Brits and curry.
 
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On one occasion on exercise in Corsica, a couple of Tahitians organised an earth-oven cook-out loosely based on this technique: Ahima’a | Traditional Technique From Tahiti | TasteAtlas
I can't remember waht was in the meal, but I do remember it being very tasty.

It reminds me of this technique.


I have eaten food cooked this way once (courtesy of the SF stand on EX LIGHTNING STRIKE. Pure accident we happened to be there at lunch time). They had put in four chickens and a load of veg no spices or other ingridients. Everything was tender and moist and tasted delicious. It's not quick though, I think our meal went in the ground about 0600 and we ate it at 1300.
 

Dwarf

LE
Couscous is a North African dish, which the French have adopted whole-heartedly.
Of that I am aware. Here we have a number of Moroccans and sometimes swap cous-cous recipes. They insist on pumpkin which I can't get away with.

But it reminds me of a story of GW1 which illustrates the French military and their scoff.
While the yanks were suffering with MREs a French pilot in a desert base after polishing off a meal of roast chicken and cous cous was heard to say "Pas du vin, pas de femmes, la guerre c'est tres dur"
 
It reminds me of this technique.


I have eaten food cooked this way once (courtesy of the SF stand on EX LIGHTNING STRIKE. Pure accident we happened to be there at lunch time). They had put in four chickens and a load of veg no spices or other ingridients. Everything was tender and moist and tasted delicious. It's not quick though, I think our meal went in the ground about 0600 and we ate it at 1300.
It's a Polynesian thing. They are all related, Tahitians, Maoris, Hawaiians, Samoans, etc.
 
Of that I am aware. Here we have a number of Moroccans and sometimes swap cous-cous recipes. They insist on pumpkin which I can't get away with.

But it reminds me of a story of GW1 which illustrates the French military and their scoff.
While the yanks were suffering with MREs a French pilot in a desert base after polishing off a meal of roast chicken and cous cous was heard to say "Pas du vin, pas de femmes, la guerre c'est tres dur"
AFAIK, the Legion units smuggled in some booze in GW1.

Its a French policy to source local foodstuffs and cook centrally whenever possible when deployed. We had some great food in Beirut in 1982.

It considerably lightens the load on the logistical chain as well.
 
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Dwarf

LE
AFAIK, the Legion units smuggled in some booze in GW1.

Its a French policy to source local foodstuffs and cook centrally whenever possible when deployed. We had some great food in Beirut in 1982.
Historically true as well. In Napoleonic times the Brits got issued food every three days. They ate most of it that day and generally lived on water/flour pancakes called tommies.
(As an aside I suggest that is where the German name for our squaddies came through Prussian and British co-operation )

The French meanwhile scavenged better and had all in stews as their staple supper. Whatever they found went iin

It seems to be a national characteristic. I certainly know which I would prefer.

Ed because my phone moved two sentences. I hate technology.
 
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As regards food and drink in general, my five years in the French Foreign Legion was a bit of an eye-opener. I discovered the joys of good French food and wine while in the Legion (the basics in the Legion itself, the rest frequenting some great restaurants as and when I could with my significant disposable income.

I grew up in inner London in the sixties and seventies. Even considering that London was a bit more cosmopolitan than most of the rest of the UK, food across the board tended not to be very inspiring. I had a broader palate than most because I was brought up in a Polish immigrant family and went to Catholic schools where most of the other kids were Irish, Italian or Polish (in that order). I also lived in a part of London where there was a substantial Cypriot community (mostly Greek Cypriot at the time). As a family we did not eat out very often (perhaps a couple of times a year). The choice of food available in the restaurants and shops tended to be far more limited then.
Did you consider signing on again after your five years were up or had you had enough of it by then? How good was your French after five years?
 

LepetitCaporal

War Hero
French military food mirrors standard French fare. A lot of fresh bread (in baguette form) is eaten.

As I recall, regulation breakfast in the “Ordinaire” / “Réfectoire” i.e. Cookhouse / Dining Hall (Junior Ranks Messing Facility) was served early (from 06.00) and consisted of sweet black coffee or drinking chocolate which was served in a bowl. You got half a baguette of bread, butter, jam or honey or sometimes chocolate spread. Traditionally the bread was dipped in the beverage bowl.

Lunch was at Midday. It usually consisted of a salad and pate starter (with bread) followed by a simple main dish of meat/fish accompanied by a carb of some sort (potatoes/rice/pasta/couscous etc.) and a vegetable.

Dinner usually had a soup or broth for a starter (with more bread). Another main consisting of meat/fish, a starchy carbohydrate and a vegetable. Often thick stew or casserole type dishes like “cassoulet” or “choucroute garnie” were served. Dessert was fruit or maybe a cake or tart or cheese.

I’m open to being corrected or amended by others who were there at the time, as it was a long time ago and memories change.
Will get back to you on this one
 
Did you consider signing on again after your five years were up or had you had enough of it by then? How good was your French after five years?
I’ll start with the last question. As explained in one of my early posts on this thread. My French was pretty damn good, by the end of five years and I was even correcting some of the spelling of the less well-educated native speakers. However, I was certainly not typical and I had had a head start with six years of French at school, where I did quite well in establishing a good foundation of vocabulary, grammar and syntax. This was put to use immediately at the Fort de Nogent when I ended up as the makeshift interpreter for several other recruits, as there was no English speaker among the recruiting staff in 1981. I also had made a firm decision to use the opportunity to perfect my French as much as possible during my five years and practised as much as I could, in all aspects of the language.
 
Did you consider signing on again after your five years were up or had you had enough of it by then? How good was your French after five years?
As regards signing on again at the end of my five years, there were several reasons which combined to make me decide not to. As has been explained in some of my previous posts on this thread.

My original reason for joining the Legion was that while at school and in the CCF, I had decided on a military career with an eventual Officer’s Commission, but I wanted to spend a few years in the Ranks, to learn how to soldier and to better understand the life of my potential eventual charges. I was precluded by certain circumstances from joining the units of my choice in the U.K. so I opted for the Legion, with a view to eventually returning and applying for a British Commission.

In the Legion I was placed in the F1 stream (accelerated promotion) and achieved “Caporal” within two years and a nominal place on the “Sergents” cadre two years after that.

i screwed that up by telling a certain Company Commander, what I really thought of him (after he had asked for my frank opinion after several drinks at an all ranks bash in the Company Club for the departure of a well-respected Adjudant). He ensured that my promotion prospects disappeared for the foreseeable future. Had I made the “Messe Sous-Officiers” (Segeants’ Mess) before my five years were up, I would have probably likely signed on again. It is actually more than likely that I would have been presented with a demand to extend my contract before being sent on the course.

Instead, I was sent on a long Radio Telegraphist’s Course (missing out on a four month Company rotational tour of Djibouti) and the following year when the Company went on another four month rotational tour of the C.A.R. I missed out again because a condition of my going was that I extend my contract (despite the fact that two months remained of my original contract after the scheduled end of the tour). As far as I was concerned that was “ar$e about face” as a tour abroad would likely encourage a contract extension. As it was it disillusioned me further.

In addition two other things influenced my decision: Firstly I’d been on two Operational tours (Lebanon and Chad) as well as two company rotational tours in Djibouti and C.A.R. in the first half of my contract and none in my second half and Ops seemed to be drying up. Secondly the Legion was undergoing some big administrative and regulatory changes bringing it more into line with the (then majority conscript) French Regular Army in the mid-eighties which were affecting morale across the board.

All this combined and helped me make up my mind not to sign on again, but to revert to my original plan to return to U.K. and apply for a Commission. When at Aubagne and going through the discharge process, I was offered an immediate place on the “Sergents” cadre if I signed on again, a place on the next level RTG course and/or a long-term posting to any of the Legion units based overseas (financially very lucrative) if I signed on again. I demurred, stating it was too late and that if they wanted to keep me I should have gone on my Sergeants’ Course when I was scheduled to.
 
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With respect, you're sniping from a pretty poorly-chosen location. @Condottiere has been around here for years, has more than demonstrated significant - very significant - background, in both the LE and the British Regular Army and is a known Jolly Good Sort. I'm not White Knighting him, here, he's more than capable of making his points himself, this really just shortens the process.

You've come from nowhere and have no bona fides. Perhaps you could give us some context so we could gauge the value - and validity - of your opinions?
Thanks buddy, I didn’t want to get in a pointless slanging match. Now I’ve got to deflate my head a bit! :)
 

Oyibo

LE
Thanks buddy, I didn’t want to get in a pointless slanging match. Now I’ve got to deflate my head a bit! :)

Obviously you will never be up to the standard of a British paratrooper, but I am happy to get into a slagging match with the bellend in your absence :-D
 

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