Cook like a thin, French woman

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Did you ever notice that French women eat decadently, but never seem to be overweight? Why is that? Author Mireille Guiliano demystified how French women eat – decadently and purposefully – while remaining svelte in her first book, “French Women Don’t Get
Did you ever notice that French women eat decadently, but never seem to be overweight? Why is that? Author Mireille Guiliano demystified how French women eat – decadently and purposefully – while remaining svelte in her first book, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”

She’s since written several books, including the newly released cookery tome, “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.”

Fabulous Foods recently spoke with Guiliano about her new book and the French eating philosophy.

FF: Although you’ve written several books before, this was your first cookbook. Was it hard to write a cookbook?

Guiliano: No, not at all because the recipes I could write. I am not a chef so I couldn’t write 12 books but I could [write it] with all the boxes of recipes that I have. They are mostly recipes from the last 15 years.

FF: What are your favorite recipes in the book?

Guiliano: I like them all. My very favorite has to be the Magical Breakfast. If people really want to lose weight and follow my philosophy … [the weight] will melt away and they will not know they are on a diet. I eat it a lot because I just feel like a different person when I eat it for breakfast.

FF: Eating seasonally and locally comes up several times in your books.

Guiliano: This is the way it’s done in the old country. People are discovering it (in the U.S.) and they aren’t really applying it. Strawberries in January or tomatoes in February, people have to be educated on what local and seasonal is. It’s a young country and in a way in Europe we’ve been lucky. We’ve had over 400 years of gastronomy and rituals.

FF: Recently, fast meals -- such as Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute-Meals concept – have come under fire. What do you think of the concept?

Guiliano: My meals, most of them, are actually 10-20 minutes. It depends what you make. It’s a great concept and yet it’s been around.

FF: What do you think are some of the greatest misconceptions about cooking?


Guiliano: That it’s a chore. Especially many women that I know who grabbed the feminist movement think it’s poo-poo to stay home and cook. To me that’s the biggest hurdle. The greatest hope I have is to see young women at my lectures. For women who grew up with mothers who didn’t cook, there is great hope for not repeating what their mothers did. At the end of the day it’s everybody’s responsibility to take care of their body.

FF: What do you think are some of the biggest problems with the way Americans eat?

Guiliano: It’s portions and all the chemicals. 80 percent of Americans buy prepared food. That’s much too much. It should be the reverse. The third element, is you eat much too fast and that has tremendously bad repercussions. Your brain needs 20 minutes to realize that your stomach is full. [Multitasking while eating] is not eating, This is not taking care of your body. This is being a robot.

FF: How do you suggest those who are unfamiliar with cooking start doing so?

Guiliano: By basically starting small, don’t try it all at once. You can’t do it all at once. It’s kind of an example of the extremist attitude in America. It’s kind of all or nothing. [For instance] they read the book, they eat the Leek Soup … and they don’t do the rest of it and of course after a few months the weight comes back. You have to read the rest of the book and read the other elements.

FF: What advice do you have for the American woman who loves your approach but fears getting into the kitchen?

Guiliano: Afraid of what? If you are afraid to cook, what happens? You burn the thing? Cooking is not rocket science. You have to get to it and you have to do it. And I think that my recipes are simple enough that you can do it. Do very basic things and like the last time grow into it. If you don’t have one ingredient, put something else. If you don’t like one thing, replace it with something else. Cooking has a lot of freedom. There is no reason for it to be intimidating.

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