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!