Friday, October 16, 2009

bon appétit

Julia hero.

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with food. I’ve been reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and haven’t been able to put it down. I also, and I think this is a result of watching the new movie about Julia Child and the fact that I am in France, have made it my ambition to expand my knowledge on cooking and the art of taste (my life goal: to be able to cook like my Dad, Mom, and Oma). Here is an excerpt from Omnivore’s Dilemma that I believe is so true:
(To give you some context, Pollan has been talking about Americans’ susceptibility to food trends and diets because there is no established food culture in America as in other countries. His thesis is that Americans have a sort of twisted relationship with food)
“We Americans are amazed to learn that some of the cultures that set their culinary course by the lights of habit and pleasure rather than nutritional science and marketing are actually healthier than we are—that is, suffer a lower incidence of diet-related health troubles.
The French paradox is the most famous such case, though as Paul Rozin points out, the French don’t regard the matter as paradoxical at all. We Americans resort to that term because the French experience—a population of wine-swilling cheese eaters with lower rates of heart disease and obesity—confounds our orthodoxy about food. That orthodoxy regards certain tasty foods as poisons (carbs now, fats then), failing to appreciate that how we eat, and even how we feel about eating, may in the end be just as important as what we eat. The French eat all sorts of supposedly unhealthy foods, but they do it according to a strict and stable set of rules: They eat small portions and don’t go back for seconds; they don’t snack; they seldom eat alone; and communal meals are long, leisurely affairs. In other words, the French culture of food successfully negotiates the omnivore’s dilemma, allowing the French to enjoy their meals without ruining their health.”
I’ve never heard a more accurate description of how French people eat. With my grandparents, it is pretty usual for Sunday lunch to start at noon and end at 4:30 or 5. I kept on thinking about that while I read that excerpt.


  1. That book is amazing. I read it a year or so ago. Definitely recommend it to anyone.

  2. If you're done with that book, and don't mind lending it to me I'd love to read it!


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