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Book It! French Women Don’t Get Fat
Posted By Jessica Fisher On November 18, 2008 @ 7:25 pm In Book Review | 7 Comments
One book that I read this past year has a rather intriguing title; French Women Don’t Get Fat . Subtitled, The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, this book by Mireille Guiliano  is a super easy read – I think I whipped through it in about 2 days.
All I knew about this book was the title. I don’t watch Oprah, The View, or Regis and Kelly. I don’t read People (except the cover when I have to wait too long at Walmart). I live in a cave and so I make a perfect candidate for jury selection.
Except for occasional forays into Borders, I would never even have heard of the book. But, since they were pushing it at the bookstore, the title caught my eye.
I lived in France for almost a year, spent our honeymoon there, and invested the early portion of my professional career studying the country, culture, and literature. For a time, France was my life.
Add to that the fact that I live to eat and this is a perfect book for me! I didn’t pick it up to go on a diet, but it probably will affect my eating habits now that I’m no longer pregnant. (Boy- do I crave croissants and baguettes more than ever!)
Ms. Guiliano is a President and CEO of the Champagne Veuve Clicquot. She is French by birth, American by business and marriage. She blends both quite beautifully in the book. She seems to have a good understanding of American culture as well as being truly French.
A little arrogance seeps out occasionally.
I was a little taken aback at first, and then I thought, “Oh yeah. She’s French.” I don’t say that to be mean, but to state a fact. As a general rule, the French are a little arrogant about being French. It reminded me of the line in Ratatouille  when Colette says, “I don’t mean to be rude, but we’re French, and it’s dinner time.”
As I was reading, I would compare the author’s statements to my experience living in France. It was 15 years ago, but I could still recall moments where American Girl hit Culture Shock. Simple things that don’t seem like a big deal now, but for a 20-year old girl who was used to eating candy bars and Coke for a snack, they stood out.
For instance, it was interesting to me that fruit was so highly prized. Fresh fruit, not canned. I had my first fresh pear in France and discovered that they were actually good. I had grown up eating canned and didn’t care for the mealy texture. A real pear is different. Guiliano waxes eloquent about favorite fruits of the French, as well as every other ingredient she thinks should be added to your repertoire.
It’s a fun read, full of thought-provoking ideas about diet….Enjoy your food!
But, she makes several points that I think are worth considering as we think about watching our weight and not eating excessively:
There’s plenty more. But these are the few that come to mind. I’m not sure if the person who’s never studied French would “get” everything. I laughed often reading the book. But, she does speak a little “franglais” from time to time.
Overall, this was definitely a thought-provoking book about eating habits. It is billed as a sort-of “diet” book, to help you recast yourself with better eating habits. It’s true, I saw very few fat French women. If they were “overweight”, it was just a little. The French do not have the obesity problems that Americans do. And, believe me, during my time there, I ate the best food of my life, but I lost ten pounds. So, I think there is something to the French way of eating.
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