What shall I feed my French exchange student to prevent a repeat?

(33 Posts)
Spidermama Tue 07-May-13 14:38:33

Last year DDs exchange student from Germany ate practically NOTHING I offered her the entire week. Nightmare!

So my heart sank on learning from his form that this French student's parents are 'hoteliers et restauranteurs'.

DH - the usual chef of this household - is away all that week. angry
So I need to do three evening meals and we'll eat out for the fourth.

Also, and perhaps more of a challenge, four packed lunches.

Bearing in mind I work full time and have four children of my own, ANY ideas of how I can do my best to make sure this boy eats would be very gratefully received.

BoffinMum Fri 10-May-13 14:38:25

French kids eat most stuff. Spaghetti bolognaise a la maison, home made pizza and good quality ice cream and particular welcome, we have found.

notcitrus Fri 10-May-13 14:33:56

Just make sure they are aware that Marmite and Bovril aren't chocolate spreads before they slather them half an inch thick on their toast and take a huge bite...

Spidermama Fri 10-May-13 14:27:17

This thread is a massive help. I'll write a shopping list using this and make sure I put Nutella, nice bread rolls, good cheese, ham, chicken etc etc on it. I think it's gonna have to be Waitrose.

Lottie4 Thu 09-May-13 10:00:32

We have a french student staying with us this year and from what I can gather it's about the cultueral experience for her and we are to carry on as normaln (having said that we'll be going out more as think it's only fair to show her local area and do some fun things).

On the first night I'm planning pizza, chips and salad as she will be late and want something quick and easy while trying to welcome her. If that's a reject will have some bread/ham, cheese and fruit on offer. Thought about roast the second day. Will ask if she will eat what I'm cooking for our main meal. If not, we always have various options in the freezer, meat pies, fish, sausages, veggie burgers. We always have veggies and salad, so if it turns out she won't eat what we're having it's no big deal to do a salad.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 09-May-13 08:31:22

Tilly, if you want to PM me and tell me where you are, I can maybe help you find some! We don't do exchanges as such, but are always on the look out for host families, and often the teen kids of our families form a friendship with the furrin kids and then go and visit them etc.

bigTillyMint Thu 09-May-13 07:02:42

Can I hi-jack this thread to ask

Where do you get your French exchange students? Is it through the school or a special agency - I would love to get DD (and DS) to do one, but their school don't organise them.

TIA!

sleepywombat Thu 09-May-13 05:45:11

One of my French exchanges ate next to nothing we fed her, we were really worried about her. Even when we asked her what she liked & cooked it, she just picked at a little. After she left, found waste paper basket in her room full of chocolate bar wrappers & crisp packets.

sashh Thu 09-May-13 04:47:39

Lidl do great frozen bread rolls, they take 10 mins from frozen to nice warm bread rolls, great for breakfast.

Packed lunch I'd put bread roll, ham, cheese, fruit something sweet and let them build their own.

RiversideMum Wed 08-May-13 21:25:06

We've had 2 French kids to stay. One ate everything from full English, bangers and mash to curry "all traditional English food" and politely said it was delicious. The other more fussy but as DD went to France first we knew and were prepared. So like others have said, lots of buffet type stuff. Bowls of salad (she didn't eat) but always happy to eat chicken, cold meats, cheese, bread ... And liked pizza and pasta.

agreenmouse Wed 08-May-13 20:52:42

I was going to suggest having a pot of nutella, but somebody has already put that.
Also yoghurts ... and plenty of fruit.
Simple good ingredients and un-fussy food.
And maybe drop him and your dd at the supermarket for a stroll about choosing cereals he might like to try (with or without milk), and a chance for him to pick out some jam, lemon curd, tea, or something else he might like to take home to his parents.

You could also ask him if he has ever had or heard of crumble. Some French people think English crumble is great, and I have seen a book of different crumble recipes published in French - worth asking first before you go to the trouble of making it.

BranchingOut Wed 08-May-13 18:45:47

Just smiling at the thought of the trendy French teen going home with a packet of crumpets!

mothersanonymous Wed 08-May-13 17:58:26

Can't you just ask what he likes and dislikes? We've always been given an email address before the exchange.
Apart from that just cook as you normally would. Nobody can starve to death in that time.

slalomsuki Wed 08-May-13 12:26:46

Just recovered from our French exchange student and here is my experience.

We had some issues with curry and Chinese which didn't really help that the school arrange an evening event at the local Asian buffet restaurant and he ate chips. He loved fish and chips and that was eaten 3 times over the course of the week.

For breakfast I bought some of these part baked baguettes and baguette style rolls and heated them up every morning for breakfast. That was a winner and when they had cooled I used them for the packed lunches with ham. Fromage frais was also a winner for breakfast and I agree with the nutella comment. He loved all the chocolate biscuits we have and went home with some Tunnocks caramel wafers. Crumpet was also a big hit as a snack with butter and these also went home with him.

For tea apart from the fish and chips we did a roast chicken on the Sunday and lasagne one evening which was OK. Did deli sandwich tea one day on the way to something else and he choose a brownie to go with it. We also did a steak pie meal with veg and potatoes and a bolognaise with pasta meal one night. It was cake or ice cream for dessert as he said he didn't like anything else but a couple of nights I did muffins for a packet mix and these were a hit.

Like the OP I work full time and it took a bit of pre planning and effort hence the short cuts but we were quite lucky I think as he ate
pretty much what he was offed.

lainiekazan Wed 08-May-13 12:15:48

Good lord! £3000 ! What sort of homes are they expecting to stay in for that money? Downton Abbey? And no wonder they're turning their noses up at Mother's Pride and spag bog.

I think NotTreading is spot on in terms of likes (I live in France, not Paris).

If you can, invest in decent bread, cheese (not just cheddar), fruit and veg -- and a jar of nutella smile This way she won't starve at least. Otherwise just cook normally, it is supposed to be an exchange after all.

I do think French everyday cooking is a bit 'less is more', compared to English -- a salad for example is lettuce and tomatoes and a dash of vinaigrette, not ten ingredients and lots of dressing. Sandwiches are ham, a bit of cheese and butter, very simple. So if anything, don't worry about making anything fancy, just keep it simple.

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 08-May-13 11:56:37

(In fairness to them, they are also paying £3,000 for 2 weeks so have certain expectations!)

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 08-May-13 11:55:47

Ours are mainly Parisian and filthy rich. So you may be right. grin

lainiekazan Wed 08-May-13 11:36:33

Your French students sound rather difficult, NotTreadingGrapes. Ds's partner and those of his friends were all charming, very polite and ate everything. The other mums I spoke to were very impressed with their manners - particularly the jumping up to fill the dishwasher after a meal. Ds's exchange school is in the Dordogne - very rural. I think the kids from there are very unspoilt.

lainiekazan Wed 08-May-13 11:32:15

crapeau dans le trou (sp?) went down a storm with ds's French exchange (toad in the hole!).

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 08-May-13 10:44:46

I am course leader for a group of (mainly) French students over the summer and the biggest complaints we get are about the food.

They aren't so bad about breakfast, but I can guarantee 200 packed lunches get binned and they run to Burger King. The biggest biggest horror for them is sliced bread, they get their lunches out, flop the floppy bread around and then just hurl the lot into the bin.

Ergo, baguettes/ciabatta bread is the way to go. Ham and cheese (together, no butter) goes down best.

They like to try fish and chips and a roast dinner. The more adventurous will try a curry or a Chinese. They cannot understand the idea of a pizza with anything else (ie chips) Pizza toppings rigorously simple.

A mixed green salad with most meals, but on a different plate, in the middle of the table. Ditto the veggies. Dp (Italian) explained to me how Italians also find the whole "mother serves up onto plates" thing odd and a bit daunting, because then they feel obliged to eat the whole lot.

bread with every meal, water with every meal and lots of fruit. (our kids always ask us where they can buy fruit, because one piece isn't enough for them)

LIZS Wed 08-May-13 10:38:44

Fish and chips, roast, shepherds pie, stew with dumplings, "make your own" pizza

Lunch rolls and ham/cheese, yoghurt, chocolate biscuit (Penguin or Kitkats), fruit, Hula Hoops or Walkers , juice or water

Madmog Wed 08-May-13 10:32:58

We are also having a french student for two weeks in the summer. My daughter is fussy herself, so usually cook two different meals. I'm going to offer the student whatever I'm cooking from fresh for me and my hubby, but if she doesn't like that I'll give her a couple of choices out of the freezer with veggies and put bread on the table. If she doesn't like any of the choices will tell her I'll give her one try and see how she gets on. I do our main shop on the day she arrives, but hopefully after the first week I'll have more of an idea of what she will eat!

As for breakfast, it'll be cereal, toast and fruit juice/water/hot drink (what we have). If she really doesn't want them, the alternative will be fruit and a yogurt which are always available.

Saracen Wed 08-May-13 05:20:27

As a foreigner, I agree with moomins - the only really difficult traditional British food to choke down if you aren't used to it is full English breakfast. Large quantities of fried food are an acquired taste and can be especially stomach-churning daunting early in the morning.

Oh, for the same reason a huge plate of fish and chips can be too much of a good thing as well, but it would be OK if helped down with some other non-fried food on the side.

I'm sure you'll be fine!

NulliusInBlurba Tue 07-May-13 20:49:01

We have a French exchange student with us right now and she's an absolute dream with the food - much less fussy than either of mine, and in fact she's encouraging them to be a bit more adventurous in their tastes. We cook a fairly broad mixture with a fairly high level of fruit and vegetables anyway, and she seems to hoover up the healthy stuff as much as the deserts. We do tend to rely on good quality basic ingredients, though - extra virgin olive oil, good parmesan, butter not marg, freshly ground salt and pepper, etc and have very few frozen or pre-packaged meals - I can imagine a French person might be shocked if you served up Iceland horse beefburgers and frozen lasagne.

GirlsTimesThree Tue 07-May-13 20:33:06

I've always found our German exchanges pretty good at eating whatever I put in front of them - one we had for a month who was vegetarian which really challenged my culinary skills, being a family of carnivores, but she seemed grateful for my efforts!
The one we had the most difficulty with was a Romanian girl who I made the stock spag bol for. I served the pasta and put the sauce on for my girls when she said 'I just have sugar' and proceeded to put a tablespoonful of sugar on plain pasta! At least she ate it. My poor DD was given pasta with warm milk for breakfast when she went there!
If you can plan ahead I'd make some easy chicken casseroles, bolognese which you turn into lasagne, chilli etc and just pull out of the freezer in the morning.
For lunch I've just given them what I give my lot. They all seem to bring plenty of money with them so they can fill up on chocolate etc if they don't like what's been packed.

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