I confess everything: as a child I missed my frozen pancakes (yes, yes, it’s possible). With this humiliation, I trained myself to become, in all modesty, not too naughty. But if there is one thing that still frightened me so far, it was cooking for several people: I already saw myself, full to the brim in front of budding chefs juggling shallots all over. singing opera. And then one day, I passed the window of the participatory restaurant “Les Petites Cantines” in the station district. There was a niche left for the next day. I squeezed my butt, and booked.
For Strasbourg men and women at the bottom of the class, Les Petites Cantines is a place that offers the inhabitants of the same neighborhood to share a friendly and supportive meal, while supporting an ethical diet. We join the year and pay for our meals when we go there, all at a free price. This creates a balance between those who give more, and those who give less in order to create a social bond around THE thing that everyone agrees on: THE BLOW.
Step 1: we break the ice (and we drink kawa with Freud)
Reaching out to strangers at 9:30 a.m., poop still fresh, is a concept that forces rapprochement. Many locals are warmly greeted, come out with glasses, and feel at home. I feel like I’m back in a new college: fascinated, but a little let down.
Fortunately, the hostess welcomes me, explains where to put my things, and tells me the program:
- salted cabbage with fresh cheese as a starter
- onion pies in resistance dish
- chocolate fondants for dessert + a strawberry from the day before to finish (what a chore)
But before you start chopping vegetables, everyone sits down, a cup of coffee / tea in hand, and we go around the table. To hell with the ultra-classic presentations based on “what do you do in life?”, We simply give our first name, our mood (a clever wording to ask how you feel), and we answer the the question of the day written on a small book piochée au préalable: “Give me a reason why your life is better today than before”. Ok, it starts in psychoanalysis, but here it’s free, and above all it allows you to tame yourself in a more fun way. Come on, we get up from the couch, it’s time to get our hands on the stoves.
Step 2: Take out the tables (and handkerchiefs)
At 10 o’clock, we put on a flocked apron in the name of the establishment (the most coquettish will be able to choose between two colors), and we are distributed on the different worktops. Here, no orders, no established groups, we go where our heart and culinary abilities lead us. Too confident, I head to the “onion peeling” workshop, which quickly turns into a “I’m draining all my water so much chiale” workshop, which is an activity I often do with people. random at 10 a.m.
With red eyes, I go from whipping chocolate fondant to cabbage shaping, and everything is organized like a non-concerted dance but cleverly orchestrated. When a person is missing such a task, one goes there, and so on. Those who are more comfortable teach the beginners, others teach grandmothers’ tricks, and everyone thrives no matter what their level. It’s late in the morning, the bellies are rumbling like F1 cars, and while I was hesitant about the amount of taff we had to do in 3 hours, it’s noon and everything is ready to be
tasted swallowed (-10 karma points for my gossip, ouch).
Step 3: We eat (and talk a lot)
At Petites Cantines, there are people who come in the morning to cook and stay to eat, those who leave with their takeaway after preparing it, and others who arrive once everything is ready. (no judgment, we know what it’s like to have a break of 30 minutes). We set the table with a few extra cutlery if a passerby wants to add, and we arrange all the dishes on the table to serve the right frankette: the portions are generous, we tighten, we sauce the plate, we make small comments, we mix whatever our ages, social backgrounds, genders, trades and hobbies. Needless to say, the food agrees a bit with everyone. It’s like a half-day adult holiday camp colony (a pretty niche, but validated concept).
Step 4: We tidy up (and we talk a lot)
He tells me. Life is cruel, made up of ups and downs, feasting and then crockery. But fortunately for many, everything is going faster and everything is less annoying, so we all get together. It talks, it sings, it sucks a little water everywhere (me, anyway), and it refurbishes the next day’s cooks. It is also time to share one last drink before returning to our occupations, our skin tense and our hearts full (I am a poet, in my lost hours).
Les Petites Cantines is the perfect marriage between sustainable food and human ties: you eat good local produce at a free price and you make friends, like a gig of your neighbors’ party without interruption. The place is welcoming, the atmosphere is welcoming, and you feel right at home (once you’ve figured out where the stuff is, of course). Whether it’s to get out of your comfort zone once or to establish your culinary HQ there, GO (with the handkerchiefs for the onions eh, don’t dig).
Les Petites Cantines Strasbourg
5 rue Kuhn 67000 STRASBURG
- Tuesday to Friday 9:30 a.m. Participatory cooking, 12 p.m. takeaway and 12:15 p.m.
- Wednesday at 2 pm pastry workshop, 4:30 pm snack
- Thursday at 4pm aperitif workshop and 6:30 pm aperitif
- Sale at 17 hours participatory kitchen, at 19:15 at the table and at 19:30 at the table
- Sunday 10am participatory cuisine, 12:15 pm takeaway and 12:30 pm lunch
+ workshops and events (jam session, photo workshops, writing, language cafe…) to be found on:
the Facebook page / Instagram account / website
Reservations by phone on 09 88 05 57 02 or on the website
Celia Laignel / @Keldechet