20 February 2009

February French Friday #3


Bonjour to you lovely French people.  It is time for another installment of French Friday.  Today, we will be discussing Chapter 5 and the Entr'act from Mireille Guiliano's book, French Women for all Seasons.  Seeing as how the weather is overcast and cold today, let us move our little party inside.  It is fortunate that our little cafe has excellent indoor ambiance as well.  I am noticing many more people in our little cafe today as the weather has driven many people inside.  The jostling and indoor noise make a jovial atmosphere though to help us shed our winter blahs.  After today, we will have one more Friday in which to finish French Women for all Seasons.  Fridays in March, I will be reviewing Mindless Eating:  Why we Eat More than we Think by Brian Wansink.  While I am on the subject of March French Fridays as well, let me take a moment to introduce you to another French woman in the making, Tangled Noodle.  Tangled introduced me to the book Mindless Eating and I loved it, as it incorporates so many French principles in concrete forms.  I have asked her to collaborate with me for March French Fridays and she has so warmly agreed to do so.  Doesn't she look so elegant and French with her little doggie sitting so nicely under her chair?

Has everyone a glass of citron presse or their Perrier?  Bon, let us now dive into our discussion.

Chapter 5:  En hiver:  Winter Pleasures

After reading this chapter, I so wish I would have read it at the beginning of winter as it was an instant lift to my flagging spirits.  I have had spring fever so badly that I have somehow forgotten that French women find pleasure in each season.  Mireille talks about exercise being an instant mood lifter during winter.  Not necessarily gym exercise, although if that is your pleasure then go for it, but rather simple ways we can incorporate more movement into our day when all we want to do is snuggle up with a good book and a cup of tea.  She talks about walking and enjoying the cold and snow (I have yet to manage actually ENJOYING the cold however) and incorporating things such as stair climbing, housework, and yoga into your day.  This chapter is also chock full of recipes to enjoy the fruits of winter.  Recipes for enjoying oysters, chestnuts, celeriac, root vegetables, scallops, bananas, oranges and other citrus fruits, duck and fennel are all in a French woman's arsenal on how to derive pleasure from bleaker winter offerings.  Mireille ends this chapter with a discussion of winter flowers and how forcing bulbs indoors can bring pleasure and color to your home.

Entr'acte:  The French Eat What?

This chapter had me giggling as Mireille speaks about the French women's pleasure in eating foods such as frog's legs, rabbit and pigeon.  Although these delicacies can be a hard find in America where the idea of eating Bugs Bunny repulses some people, pleasure is very subjective and what is repulsive to some may be pleasurable to others.  Mireille gives us recipes for rabbit, pigeon and liver in this chapter.  I for one was pleasantly surprised to see rabbit for sale at my local butcher recently and can't wait to give it a try!

These chapters impressed upon me the French woman's ability to derive pleasure from her circumstances, even in the bleakest of seasons.  What brings you pleasure in winter?  For Valentines day, my mother in law bought me a bouquet of daisies with lilies.  They are still gorgeous even 6 days after I received them as I've been careful in changing the water daily.  They bring a little boost of color and spring to my home and table despite the gloomy weather outside.

I have so enjoyed our time together in our little cafe today.  Next Friday we will finish French Women for all Seasons by discussing Chapters 6 and 7 as well as the chapter titled, A Bientot.  Please join me next Friday in our little cafe for that discussion.  Also, don't forget to pick up a copy of Mindless Eating for our French Friday discussions in March!  I found my copy at my public library but I'll also include an Amazon link below.  Until next week, my lovely French friends, a bientot!


12 comments:

Sheila said...

I haven't read the books but I appreciate you synopsis of each chapter. I completely have embraced walking in any weather. It is so refreshing and different from working out in the gym (whether it be a home or commercial gym). Originally I just walked, now I do the elliptical inside and a video but always do my walk in addition. It is relaxing and invigorating at the same time.

Robin Sue said...

Bon jour Joie. Let us know how that rabbit goes, you can take one for the team! I love flowers in the winter and often treat myself to a small bouquet from Trader Joe's. They have tulips now for $4.99, low enough that I can by a bunch for my livingroom and kitchen. I also like daffodils as they seem to be such a happy flower.

Rabbits are a funny thing. There was an Italian family by my grandmother's that raised their own rabbits for eating. Well my cousin had a pet rabbit and when my cousin was a pain his big brothers always threatened to bring Bugsy to those people! One day Bugsy did have to go to the people when my cousin could no longer take care of Bugsy. So sad but I bet he was good as he was so fat!

Tangled Noodle said...

Joie - Merci pour l'introduction!

Winter is a diffcult time for me as I suffer bouts winter blues. To manage, my desk and computer face a window so that I have a view of the outdoors. It's often much too frigid to go for a walk but at least being able to see outside makes me feel less cooped up. My simple winter pleasure that always perks me up? A cup of creamy hot cocoa!

Sunny said...

I felt like I was really there at a French cafe! :) I will have to look for that book you're talking about.

Chef E said...

I too feel as though we are meeting in a french cafe for real...I with my head on my hand sipping water as you speak to us...

I grew up eating all of the foods you mention, and guess my mother did not know her Creole heritage was so obvious in the cooking...

Katherine Aucoin said...

Exercise is definitely a mood lifter. I have worked out on Wii fit and it does turn me around. I think we are all anxious for spring.

Olga said...

Just wanted to say Congratulations!!!! on being chosen as one of the 24 bloggers for Foodbuzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


P.S. Can't wait to hear how your mussels recipe turns out.

Reeni♥ said...

I feel guilty! I am promoting brownies for breakfast on my blog today! The one thing I can't do is get back into any kind of exercise routine. I love yoga and the way it makes me feel but right now I am at about once a week which is just not good enough to see any results. Blah. I'm ready for Spring.

Reeni♥ said...

P.S. Please don't eat Bugs or the Easter Bunny!

Norene said...

I just recently found your blog. I read "French Women Don't Get Fat" a few years ago. I tried the soup and a few other things, but didn't really commit to it. I've read two seasons of "French Women for all Seasons". I put it down because I wasn't ready to absorb the information. I liked the idea, but I just didn't know how to incorporate it into my life as a native Washingtonian and true western farm girl! Losing weight has been a goal of mine for the last 10 years. I've never had a weight problem until after age 45. Now it's become a nightmare. Last year I found the little book, "Mindless Eating" at my favorite spa/resort: Bonneville Hot Springs, in Stevenson, WA. I was thrilled when I found your blog. A member of the choir told me about it. It is so awesome! It has inspired me to get my book out and read along with you! It has also inspired me to go back and read Mireille's first book! Thank you for your inspiration and ideas!

A World in a PAN said...

Interesting synopsis of the book, plus your sensitive comments ...

My Carolina Kitchen said...

J'adore your French Fridays. When we were in France, we had lapin (rabbit) numerous times - always delicious. I also had pigeon but I didn't care for it because it was boney. We have found someone here in the mountains that supplies us with lapin and, if cooked properly, is fabulous. My favorite way to pepare it is a la Moutarde (with mustard).
A Bientot. Sam

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