Saturday, July 13, 2013

ooohhh la la

The Can Can  

The Rollerblading police force 


The French have given us many wonders over the years and I, for one, delight in all of them. I'm currently delighting in French philosophy books and would like to share that with you here.


I'm actually really digging books on French parenting styles.

Not the current owner of a baby? Then these two books may have passed you by:
Bringing up Bébé and French Kids Eat Everything

I have always loved a good "This culture is better than America" book and these are no exceptions.

For those sans les bébés I highly recommend Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl. After reading you will instantly run out and get an expensive facial, a book of philosophy, and a chocolate croissant. That's the easy part.

Trying to curb your American enthusiasm for revealing your whole life story to a stranger on a park bench - much harder to do - trust me, I've tried, and being mysterious is a lot harder than it looks.

But back to les bébés.

I'll only discuss French Kids Eat Everything here because I find it utterly fascinating and fully intend to subject 'Lil D to the French way of eating. For one, they start off le petit humans with vegetable purées (soups) to introduce them to different tastes. Next there is a whole freaking school system devoted to teaching children to enjoy and try different foods.

Here, wee Sebastian, try this leek smush. Here, mon bisou Jacqueline, take a nibble of this bean.

Pre-schoolers get around 2 hours to enjoy their lunches and they must sit and describe flavors and texture. Little ones must practice table manners and self-control. In one example, a table of three-year olds had to sit around a table and wait patiently for every student to receive his or her gateau (cake). If one grabbed their cake before everyone had theirs it was briskly swept away. No desert for you!

Thusly, the tiny French population has amazing self-restraint. And are more than happy to eat their vegetables. More than once in both of these books the French scoffed at Les Americans and their lack of self-control or self-restraint.

Hmmmm...I certainly did NOT eat 6 cookies last night.

No, not me.

I was also heavily interested in the French art of eating only 4x a day. Three meals and le gouter. No other snacking. No cultural ideas that children will only eat chicken fingers and pbj sammies. They eat beat salads and weird fish spreads. And, of course, no snacking. Did I mention no snacking? Because pretty much my entire food day consists of snacks. And Coca-Cola.

One last idea that I found fascinating was a study that found that when asked what they most enjoyed about food (or something like that) the French responded with Le Plaisir. Pleasure! On the other hand Americans found food not pleasurable in the slightest and mostly associated food with health (and thusly, guilt). Who wants to eat for health!? I've tried to eat for health and it was highly not fun and full of guilt.

You should read both books for a fascinating insight into different food cultures...and I'm telling you now, ours looks not only unhealthy, but without plaisir.

I'm pinning all my hopes and dreams of being a better eater by forcing 'Lil D to be a better eater. I will ride on her coat tails to health and self-restraint.

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