Under the "stop the insanity" category, I just stumbled across this doosie. Giadi De Laurentiis and Suzanne Goin were interviewed about how they stay so thin. Along with portion control, Ms DL opts for long walks over jogging due to...well read for yourself....
"....De Laurentiis exercises three days a week with Joseph Rivera, a Taekwondo black belt whose other clients have included a Playboy cover model. She also regularly walks along the beach near her Pacific Palisades, Calif., home for as long as two hours, which she admits can get "really freakin' boring."
"Why don't you run?" I ask. "It would be much more efficient."
"Um, I have larger breasts than some," she says with a smile that hovers between Hollywood pride and knowing self-deprecation. "And running is not good for them...."
Thank you Giada, for that visual. A simple "I don't enjoy running" would have sufficed....
Louis Vuitton Store ~ 101 ave Champs Elysées, Paris the past 18 months.....
Ok, so I’m a little slow on the draw. It only took me 4 days but I realized that the most anticipated fashion event on the planet happened here in my humble hood and I was completely oblivious to the spectacle. It’s not surprising given that my wardroom has shrunk to 4 chefs coats (actually 3 now since I left one at Chateau d’Enfer and the owner won’t return it!), 4 chefs pants, 3 pairs of jeans, a few cotton tops, a black turtleneck, and a purse i bought at AAA, yes that AAA, as in American Automobile Association. As you can see, practicality now drives my life and wardrobe rather than whimsy. So is it any wonder that I was omitted from the guest list? I think not... So with no further ado, I introduce the Louis Vuitton flagship store at 101, avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris.
Louis Vuitton Store ~ 101 ave Champs Elysées, Paris ~ 10 October 2005
Hundreds of étoiles (stars) such as Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman and Catherine Deneuve were on hand to laud Marc Jacobs and his ready-to-wear spring-summer 2006 collection. It is also an architectural jewel in its own right. According to the press release, the interior design “sought to create terraces evoking Oriental rice fields rather than floors or storys in the conventional sense.” As soon as the lines die down, maybe I’ll take a peek inside….if I can get past the fashion police stationed outside the doors though I might need to go buy a new pair of jeans for the occasion...
Ironically I found out about the opening when I was on my way to cook lunch for the homeless at the American Cathedral just 2 blocks down from the Louis Vuitton store. I emerged from the George V metro stop and ran smack into a snaking line of at least 200 people waiting to get in to the store, all bedecked in various shapes and colors of little LVs. I found it extremely disconcerting to walk by the epitome of wealth and excess while a few blocks away 65 people who have no home, much less a Louis Vuitton purse, and who don’t know where their next meal will come from, were waiting for lunch. Well they know where lunch is on Fridays anyways -- just 2 blocks away from a $200 million store. Hmmm... kind of makes me lose my appetite.
Now before you shoot me nasty emails, I own a LV wallet and key chain that I bought years ago when I was gainfully employed at a Huge Software Company and I certainly don’t begrudge anyone beautiful clothes or accessories, as I am guilty of purchasing more matching shoes and purses than any human needs in a few hundred lifetimes. I am merely pointing out the great disparity in our society, one that I was guilty of perpetuating but am much more painfully aware of now that I am rather far down the food chain and if not for the grace of God and some very kind people, I might just be waiting in line for my lunch rather than helping cook it.
The New York Times did it to me again, like an old boyfriend that you keep going back to, thinking it will be different, that he’s changed and it’s great for a few days but then he reverts back to his smarmy ways and once again, after you swore up and down and every which way that you’d never let it happen again, he breaks your heart.
It was the last straw with Nigella espousing all things virtuous in a brown rice and seaweed salad however I was lured back with R.W. Apple's beautiful prose. But now this bastion of journalism has jumped on the Leek Broth Bandwagon and is headed west at full tilt with not one but two articles a few days apart!
People, people, people…PLEASE! Leek broth, small portions, water, and walking. Hello?! Granted, I’m sure her vignettes are an enjoyable read but 4 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List and two New York Times reviews?! Have we completely lost our natural minds? I guess it is no wonder that the other book in the top 5 is the South Beach Diet book which has been on the list for 91 weeks!?!
I must give Ms. Guiliano credit as she is one smart cookie—pun intended. From a business perspective, her book is brilliant. She has absolutely nailed the American weight obsession and mad desire for instant results and y’all just played right into her champagne-popping hands. Is it no coincidence that her book is not being translated into French nor is being marketing here in France? In a twist of cruel irony, the Veuve Cliquot corporate web site press release headline reads: “Americans Devour "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano”. Even her company is mocking the “fat over-eating Americans”!
Am I the only one that finds this whole thing patronizing? One of the NY Times fluff pieces, er I mean articles, claims that American are “secretly jealous of their fashion style” and “have an inferiority complex” and “…French women really don't get fat.” Well I’ve been here almost a year and I can tell you I’ve seen my share of “healthy” French women and the “Glamour DON'T” team could fill a years worth of magazines if they rode my bus just one morning. Now I’ve heard all the statistics on obesity in America so spare me the nasty emails as such generalizations just fan the flames of our already weight-fixated culture that drives 10 year olds to anorexia.
Yes, it’s true that portions are smaller here. Yes, it’s true that people walk everywhere in Paris (not true outside of Paris) however Paris is a small city and public transportation systems here are so phenomenal that having a car is an annoyance or a luxury rather than a necessity. Yes, it's true they take the stairs but that's because most old building don't have elevators and are no more than 6 stories high. Yes, it’s true that the French take time to enjoy their meals and few, comparatively speaking, eat on the run but can you sum up an entire culture based on thousands and thousands of years of history in a little over 200 pages with a few recipes thrown in for good measure?
Mme. Guiliano suggests we start incorporating these “subtle” changes into our lives yet these changes are anything but subtle as the cultures are so diametrically opposed. Claims that French women “dress to take out the garbage” are so ridiculous I won’t even comment. One of my favorite suggestions is “don’t rush”. Obviously Mme. Guiliano isn’t familiar with the hi-tech, dot com, business consulting, or legal profession's 80-hour week reality or the investment banking 24 hours/365 days on-call, on a plane twice a week lifestyle. Not surprising considering she hails from a country where maximum 35 hour work weeks and minimum 6 weeks of vacation are The Law!
What she is asking us to do is to change an engrained culture that is founded on manifest destiny, entrepreneurism, be anything you want to be, work hard play hard, party like a rockstar, burn the candle at both ends and a get rich quick mentality. In other words, the American lifestyle is revved at about 8,000 rpms and is so irrational that it leaves no room for the rational to creep in and impart a little leisure or perhaps more succintly, we are one end of the pendulum swing and the French culture, the other end.
She suggests that we walk to the market and stop to smell the fresh herbs. Can you see it: “I’m sorry I’m late for the meeting Mr. Gates, but I stopped to buy fresh heirloom tomoatoes at Pike's Place on my way work. By the way, can we talk about cutting back my time in the office so I can walk home at night?” That would go over like the proverbial lead balloon and said person would be catapulted to the unemployment office.
Our culture is steeped with rush, now, get it, make it, launch it, fire drills, I need it yesterday, type A, bigger, more, better, faster, newer. The French culture is ripe with no worries, tomorrow, no rush, shrug, ppfffff, later, c’est la vie and the reasons for these would take volumes to ascertain and decades to impart.
I have been able to incorporate some of these “subtle” changes into my lifestyle only because I LIVE here and I am immersed in French culture. It wasn't a conscious effort, it was a subconsious assimilation into French life. I don't have a car so I walk or take the subway. I sit down and eat with my roommates whenever we are both here. When I first arrived, my roommate Pierre couldn't believe that I would eat standing at the counter in the kitchen and quickly put an end to that habit. I shop every few days for fruit and vegetables and I buy a fresh baguette every other evening on the way home but... the bakery is two doors down on the corner and the farmer's market is across the street 3 times a week.
This society is set up to accomodate such a lifestyle whereas the US isn't. Perhaps only in New York City could this conceiveably work and with the exception of New York City, Americans drive everywhere. There is a fast food drive through on just about every other block. We're hungry, we're late for a meeting, the kids are screaming, we want to eat, we don't want to wait, we want it now. McDonalds has no fear of becoming a going concern any time soon.
Everything Mme. Guiliano champions in her book is common sense, things we’ve already heard and know all too well. Walking, water, small portions, fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t rush, take time to eat, take the stairs—really nothing momentous, earth-shattering, revolutionary or book-worthy, however… she packages it beautifully in a darling cover launched by the tres chic Veuve Cliquot marketing machine and her charm and graciousness have no doubt captivated audiences and journalists everywhere.
Happy Groundhog Day or Bon Porc de la Terre (happy hog of the ground) from France! Where is Bill Murray when you need him?! Not in Paris unfortunately. And speaking of groundhogs, I have noticed a lot of searches for “groundhog”, “groundhog recipes”, groundhog desserts”, and “groundhog menu” hitting my humble little groundhog free zone.
I wasn’t aware that this subterranean fête coincided with any sort of a gastronomic celebration but perhaps that accounts for all the recent searches landing on my site for “hamster merry”, “hamster cuisine”, “hamster my head”, “mes amis les hamster”, and the one that almost made alert PETA, “how to cook a hamster”! Boil a leek for God's sake, but please don't eat your hamster! or a groundhog!
This note could easily be labeled “Stop the insanity, people! v2.0”. It is a follow up from my previous post, French Women Don’t Get Fat, of the same named book by Veuve Cliquot CEO Mireille Guiliano. It seems that Mme Guiliano, and her above mentioned book, are all over the news in the US. Obviously it's been a slow news week and I suppose all those red states are bored with reading about that little skirmish with the evil axis on the other side of the world, but I digress...
Where was I, oh yes… So a friend from home called to tell me that Mme Guiliano has been usurping the airwaves with her drivel on 60 Minutes, the Today Show, etc… all fine bastions of upstanding journalism. Ha! Anyways… She also reported that one of Mme Guiliano’s “secrets” to staying thin is…drumroll please...boiled leek broth. She advises to just eat that all weekend and you’re sure to drop a few lbs and be back at your desired weight. My response was exactly the same as when the size 4 Nigella with the size 54 breasts suggested a brown rice and seaweed salad to loose those holiday pounds, which was: “Are you kidding me?! I could weigh 800 pounds and I still wouldn’t eat boiled leek broth!” Boiled leek broth? And this woman got paid to write this crap? Am I missing something? I’d rather be a bit overweight (which by our social standards is over 87 pounds) and indulge in a dessert or two than be “socially-acceptably-thin” (ie: under 87 pounds, thank you Kate Moss) and drink boiled leek broth. Stop the insanity, people! Please! Enjoy life! Live a little! Eat a cookie, for God’s sake! (But for those of you who insist, more leek lore, the origin of leek broth and a leek soup recipe below…)
I met a woman last night who had just moved to France to model and when the hors d'oeuvres tray came by she eagerly took one. Teasing her I said, "I thought models didn't eat?" She graciously said "This one does!" and popped a Price Club quiche (or Paris equivalent) in her mouth with a big smile. That could have been her entire caloric consumption for the day or perhaps she went home and hurled the offending morsel, I’ll never know but for some reason I doubt it... So there you have it folks, living proof that it's possible to actually be a model AND eat! Someone alert the Ford Modeling Agency and Miss Moss.
Not to change subjects but… another cool thing about these newfangled blogs is that the software (typepad in my case) provides statistics on all sorts of fascinating things… like who has visited my site and from whence they hail. If someone did a search and landed on my site I can tell from where and for what they searched.
One search particularly piqued my curiosity. It’s seems someone searched on msn for “s*x and pantyhose”. Now I hope the same question is crossing your mind, namely… “Huh?!” as in how the heck did they end up on my little site, a site about…oh I don’t know...cooking?!?! To give them the benefit of the doubt, I suppose you could cook while wearing pantyhose and having s*x though it sounds rather dangerous, especially if grease should happen to splatter. I certainly haven’t tried it nor have I chronicled about it so why oh why did they end up on my humble site?
I had to get to the bottom of this, so I immediately clicked on the link and found myself listed on a p*rn site along with other web sites that include the word s*x and pantyhose somewhere in their web pages. Once again, “Huh?!”
After further investigation, it seems in my above mentioned rant on Nigella’s brown rice and seaweed salad, I used the word “s*x” with the “e” (in a completely different context and certainly not with pantyhose) and in a later post, I included the winning essay of who had the wildest Christmas contest (enter: pantyhose). And I end up on a p*rn site? So in order to avoid future embarrassment of appearing in searches on various and sundry s*x sites I have decided to insert the obliging little asterisk “*” in certain words so my G-rated site will not be sullied! At least not by anyone other than me and my asterisk-riddled profanity!
So on that note… I am off to make lunch. Don’t worry, it won’t be while simultaneously having s*x and wearing pantyhose, and I can guarantee you it won’t be boiled leek broth!
Now not to completely dismiss Madame Guiliano proclivity for leeks, I must admit that I too like leeks and it is prolific in French cuisine but sauté it, braise it, brown it, roast it, take it home and call it Bob, but for the love of God, please do something with it other than BOIL it to drink the resulting broth. Yuk!
Some leek lore for you leek lovers out there, courtesy of The Internet. It seems that in the 7th century, the Welsh wore leeks in their hats to differentiate themselves from their enemies in battle. And what happens if your leek falls out of your hat, you ask? You get killed by your fellow soldiers, of course silly, that is if you’re not able to convince them that you are indeed on their side. Could this have been the first documentation of friendly fire? During one particular victory against the Saxons, those fierce fighting Welsh led by King Cadwallader won and the leek became the emblem of pride. The leek loving Welsh have since worn this long legume to commemorate the victory on St. David’s Day, March 1st. Naturally…. leek broth or cawl is the traditional meal on this day. Thanks but I’ll have the Vichyssoise please…
This is an American version of the chilled leek and potato soup derived from the French classic. It can also be served hot which is how I prefer it. This recipe is courtesy of the Cordon Blue book, Soups, from their Home Collection.
Warning: do not attempt to cook this while simultaneously (not simulating) having s*x and wearing pantyhose. If you do not heed my warning and become injured, don’t blame me cuz I’ll just say “told you so!” If you don’t sear an appendage and actually enjoy it, email me immediately! I have just the web site for you!
2 tbsp butter 3 large leeks, white part only, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced 2 small potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 quart (approx 1 liter) chicken broth ¾ cup (approx 200 ml) heavy whipping cream (or crème fraîche) a few stalks of chives, chopped
1. on medium heat, melt butter and add leeks and celery. cook until soft, stirring occasionally, but do not allow it to brown. turn down the heat if you see this. 2. add potatoes and broth, salt & pepper 3. bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. 4. purée with an immersion blender right in the pot or a blender or cuisinart for a smooth consistency. (smooth or chunky, it’s your soup so make it how you want.) 5. stir in ½ cup of cream and season to taste with salt & pepper 6. chill for at least 2 hours. 7. serve in chilled bowls. whip the remaining ¼ cup of whipping cream and garnish along with the chopped chives.
bon appetit... and between you and me, I’ve seen my share of not-so-thin French women so don’t believe everything you read!
And for those of you in or near San Francisco, you can discover first hand, from the living Grande Dame herself, her enigma for a mere $285 (that does of course include dinner at Aqua and a bit of the bubbly!) or... simply pay $14.96 on amazon or... I could just give away the ending and ruin all your fun... which I think I will, though I prefer to look at it as saving you $285.
Ms. Guiliano espouses that her "secret" is small portions, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a lot of walking and wine, or in her case champagne! Simply eat, drink and walk your way to thinness.
Uh…. Duuuuh! I could have told you that! As a matter of fact I did...just a few short months ago when I first moved to Paris... Here it is, My Paris Diet. That will be $285 please... or since I am not including dinner and bubbly, $14.96 will do. Such a deal!
I just noticed it today. I think I’m losing a little weight! Could it be? Are my jeans actually....loose! Just out of the dryer and loose?! You mean I don't have to inhale to button them or bend over and squat down to stretch them out! Say it isn't so! Well knock me over with a feather! I didn’t try, really! I swear! No fancy diets or protein shakes, treadmills or berating trainers, thank God! So here it is...
My Paris Diet! No, not the Paris Hilton diet, which is no doubt a Molotov cocktail of amphetamines, prozac, vicadin and a little ecstasy thrown in when taping sexual exploits, but the Paris France diet! It was simply red wine, small portions, and a lot of walking! That's it, really! I ate butter, croissants, heavy cream, baguettes, and the occasional bacon cheese burger but it was all in small portions, with red wine, and walk, walk, walk! The secret to Parisian women!
Of course they all smoke like fiends, as do most cooks ironically enough, which we all know curbs your appetite but they do look oh-so sexy and sultry (French women, not cooks) the way the take long indifferent drags on their cigarette, inhaling, sucking in their cheeks, holding up their hand, wrist tilted back with their two fingers and cigarette extended, and exhaling gracefully, seductively, completely ambivalently and without the slightest effort. Now I don't smoke, never have and don't want to start so I wonder if that would work with a pen? Doubt it, and bubble gum just doesn’t carry the same panache, especially when it pops, smearing your bright red Chanel lip stick all over your face. So it’s 3 out of 4 for me with wine, small portions and walking. That I can do. And I don’t have to sweat, wear lycra, count points, weigh portions, calculate fat to protein to carb ratios, be in the zone, pee on a stick, or drink meals out of cans. God I love this city! :-)
OK, maybe it’s not quite that easy. First you have to quit your job, sell or give away most everything you own: car, furniture, clothes, books, shoes (e-gad!), etc. Then move to New York City and go to cooking school (no a/c during the summer!) where you are submerged into a hell unimaginable. Than you have to gain 40 pounds. Then, you have to work in a restaurant where your sous-chef doesn’t like you and constantly tries to get you fired or humiliate you to into quitting.
Then you have to be completely broke and move to France with everything you own in a duffle bag. Then you have to work on a lobster boat for 2 months. Then you have to move in with a friend in Paris who says you can stay there free for 3 months, then a week later you have to find an apartment (in Paris!) and move out because her mother decided to come live with her. Then you have to borrow money from another friend so that you can pay rent and stay in Paris, then you have to call your mother and borrow money to pay your friend back and stay in Paris a few more months...
OK now, now you are ready, now you can begin incorporating the Paris France diet into your life. Though after all that, Ms. Hilton's Molotov cocktail is sounding better and better...