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Posts tagged ‘food’

A New Years resolution that will last a lifetime!

Like everyone else, January brings a set of New Year full of promise and good intentions. But six weeks into the new year and 80% of us have likely ditched their diet or stopped going to the gym. I’m here to tell you I’m still going strong on mine! More on that in a minute.

Restrictions on foods seem to come from those who love food the most. I was having lunch with a self-described foodie who then proceeded to tell me everything they could not eat. Another fruit-loving-friend told me she was going keto and had to give up bananas—fruit—all together! Ketosis, it’s a good thing? It sounds contagious.

Living in California, I  can’t avoid reminders about the latest diet fad! There is the Whole 30, the Zone, the Paleo, the Raw Food diet, the Boiled Egg Diet, the Volumetric diet , the Master Cleanse diet, the Grapefruit , the Vegan Diet, the Macrobiotic Diet.

It’s not that I blame anyone for wanting a fresh start or to take control of their diet, it just seems like we’re going about it the wrong way in America. Diets create some many rules and we have so little time to apply them. Are they all designed to fail? Probably. Not my new diet!

I just got back from France, where it is sacrilege to not start every morning with a croissant, a pain au raisin or a warm slice of baguette slathered in buerre and jam. Sometimes all three! There is no guilt here, no questioning of one’s food choices (the baker will never question if you ask for five croissants to go). The food isn’t somehow substituted, no attempts to trick your mind or body, it is just pure pleasure.

I hate to admit that with a pain au chocolate in my mouth, I was thinking about my diet, too. I was thinking about what would be something I could stick to and stay on for as long as possible. I call it the Kilo diet. In the Kilo Diet, a large slide of French bread with a lovely hunk of butter are daily requirements (pastries are acceptable substitutions too). A rich glass of red wine and a chunk of cheese are rightly considered heaven on earth. And pâté, pâté, pâté.

In truth, I am tired of letting food and restrictions from a new hype diet permeate my brain. The Kilo Diet is really just to let food be food. It’s an acknowledgement of simple pleasures: you eat the things that make you happy, that give you pleasure and that can satiate you physically and emotionally (like my kid who demands a strawberry tart every time she comes home to visit). And you know what? Kilos be damned. Who cares! Carpe diem, not carpe diet.

Anyway, I have got to go! I am on a mission to find chestnut ice cream. Yes, there is such a thing, it is has sugar glazed chestnuts and more fat in one tbsp than some food regimens recommend for a week! Ah, only the French could invent something so perfect for my Kilo Diet.





France vs. US: Round One

The World Cup has brought out my duality. On one hand, I root for the French whole-heartedly but on the other, I feel an attraction to the ever under-dog American team (perhaps because in athletics, we infrequently are). Maybe it’s because I just got back from Paris, maybe it’s the unseasonable warm actual-summer San Francisco weather, but I am feeling torn.

Somehow comparing the two countries is a national sport in America. But I never feel that kind of zeal. The only way to reconcile these kinds of feelings is through careful comparison and observation. But where do I begin? Education? Health Insurance? Politics? No, the only way to truly do this is through food.

Which stacks up better? Where does France reign supreme? I am going to tell you the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the truly important differences between the two cultures.

The butter is better in France. I do not care what fabulous organic creamery lost in the hills of Vermont or the green fields of California made your butter, the average French butter, bought at your corner store, tastes better. I personally recommend Président.


I should note that there is a savory alternative to Président: Echirié. A butter so smooth, sprinkled with a little sea salt from the Camargue. Mon dieu, as we like to say.

With the butter there is another essential ingredient: the ham. And the ham is better in France. I know you trekked thirty-seven miles to buy that incredible organic ham, which is wrought from a herdof 15 porks. Or you found a butcher who exists in a cave in Wisconsin.  In France, you could go to your local French butcher and have gotten the best ham of your life. No trekking or cave involved.  The butcher might seem like an antiquated profession but trust me: you want someone in your life that knows how to slice leg of lamb, how to carve a cow and how to best present a duck breast.

And finally there is the bread. I don’t know what it is in France but even my daughter, who lives in New York, complains of never being able to find quality bread. It could be the water or the flour in France, or maybe the fact that thousands of bakeries are all competing for your business, but the bread is better here. Should I also note that the French people do not seem to be decimated by gluten allergies? Go figure.


Of course, there are some metaphors in these. The quality of food on a basic level is just better in France.

But best of all–these three ingredients? They combine to make the best sandwich, un jambon beurre on a baguette. Who needs all the fuss all the food trucks all the crazy ingredients, in France these thee basic elements are the holy trinity.


“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw

I embody certain stereotypes of a naturalized citizen, a French woman and an architect. I love fashion. I love modernism. And I love food. My daughter and boyfriend often tell me, with mouths full of Bouillabaisse, why I don’t become a chef instead of an architect. I certainly am less grumpy in the kitchen (their words, not mine).

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Methods of Simple Efficiency

Durkheim used what he called “primitive” individual’s and their beliefs to understand the greater complexities of religious life. While I am not Durkheimian, I do admire the idea of tracing things that are complicated back to their most simple roots.

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