Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why are the French so skinny?

There is a myth that circulates among women, or in fact, anyone who is body conscious that the French are skinny because of the small portion sizes they eat. But, mes chers amis, I have lived with not one, but two, different french families now, and I can tell you that that is most definitely not true. I’m trying to cut down on portion sizes but the food is delicious and unfortunately, a typical meal is nothing but carbs and fat. No, seriously. For example, today’s meals consisted of:

Breakfast: Baguette, butter, (homemade) jam, 2% milk with hot chocolate powder. No arguments, no other options, it’s what the entire family eats. EVERYDAY.

Lunch: Baguette, butter, ham, endive salad, celery and potatoes with cheese and crème fraiche. Oh and potato chips and homemade (not non-fat) yogurt.

Dinner: Noodle soup, pasta with BACON, CREME FRAICHE, CHEESE, baguette with cheese.

Did you notice that dinner was actually nothing but fat (cheese, cream, bacon) and bread (pasta, noodles, baguette)???

And every time I don’t have seconds, or turn something down, the mother is astonished that that’s all I’m eating. Meanwhile her skinny arms are piling on more pasta on her plate. I mean, they eat so much more than I do and they don’t exercise either!

Oh and then there are times when we have something like Raclette:         



… It’s similar to fondue except you melt the cheese in separate plates and then dump them over your potatoes (carbs), ham, tomatoes, and walnuts. Deeeeelicious!

I honestly can’t figure it out. It is rather rare that you seen an overweight, and I’m not even talking about fat, just slightly overweight, Frenchy. Meanwhile, I’m about to rip my jeans and my muffin tops are overflowing. I may have to wear yoga pants the rest of this trip. No, I’m exaggerating, it hasn’t gotten that bad but I have definitely put on a little (completely unnecessary) weight.

The one thing that I’ve noticed is that they don’t snack. And they don’t binge eat. Meals are pretty much set. 3 meals a day and the children will have a snack (tartine – bread and butter/nutella and milk or a cookie and milk) an hour or two before dinner. Personally, I’ve always been a crazy snacker. In college, I had breakfast at 8:30, lunch at 12, snack before work at 2:30, dinner at 6, and then post-practice snack at 10. I was essentially eating every 4 hours. Perhaps that’s the problem. The more often we eat, the more opportunities we have to eat unhealthy food or even just eat too much. I think it’s hard to decide how large a snack is supposed to be and I think sometimes, my “snacks” are larger than my “meals”. In addition, some of us (cough cough me) tend to binge eat. As in, if something’s really good, I’ll keep on eating it, even if I’m full. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. I guess what they eat is pretty consistent, whereas we have a million different restaurants and ethnic foods, so it’s not like they’ll never eat it again. So why eat all of it now? There will always be more.

Of course, I realize that things may be different in Paris. I live in the South of France and life is rather laid back. Everything gets done, but nothing is ever rushed. Maybe it’s the relaxed lifestyle that explains such a balanced way of looking at meals. Although, I doubt there are many overweight Parisians.

I for one, am not going to worry too too much about it. Maybe if my pants actually rip (which has happened before… but I’ll save that one for another time) but for now, I’m just going to enjoy the food. Finally! An excuse to eat all the carbs and cheese I want! I mean, I’ve got no choice right? When in France, do as the French do.


– Mag




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No romance in France

Mes chers amis,

2011 has pretty much been yangst-free. Sauf Ms. Holly Golightly who was in CAIRO for 2 weeks, so close to the riots they were actually taking place right outside of her hotel window. But I’m sure she’ll be putting those pictures up soon.

As for me, I quit my job, went to Grand Cayman for a week and am now living with and tutoring English to a family in Provence. And though I am miles away from NYC and totally disconnected from American culture (I didn’t even watch the Super Bowl!), Valentines Day is unfortunately not exclusive to our dear old US of A. There are pink hearts in the cafes in France. BARF. Why oh why can’t I just escape this terrible holiday? I counted on my fingers…8. It’s been 8 years since I was single for Valentines Day. I think that may indicate a problem of sorts? L says that I’m “a serial monogamist”. Call it what you will, I’m single now. And let it be known that I don’t hate Valentines Day because I’m single. I’ve always thought it to be a sucky holiday. Because when you’re in a relationship, you shouldn’t need a special day to show your affection. Plus, the gifts you receive aren’t even special or creative. EVERYONE is doing the same ish – flowers, candy, stuffed animals, candlelit dinners. Ex-Boyfriend and I decided last year that we wouldn’t do dinner next year for V-Day. We were right! (because we’re not dating anymore…). But I digress. So the holiday is pointless when you’re in a relationship. Most people don’t even know who Saint Valentine was. And it just plain sucks when you’re single because, as stated previously, EVERYONE is doing the same ish and all of a sudden it feels like you’re the only single gal out there.

Which brings me to my next topic. People are always telling me that it should be so easy for me to find someone. “You’re pretty, you’re smart and you live in NYC! There are so many people there!” Yeah, well guess what they all suck. And though for the most part I agree with this article in the Village Voice, it is only partially correct. Yes, women in NYC have high standards and some don’t know what they want but come on, the men actually do suck. The fact that one guy says that it’s partially women’s fault because they make it too easy… well guess what, that makes you a pig. And also, I don’t want to wait until you’re 34 for you to grow up. My biological clock is ticking. But I get it, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Regardless, it’s a very interesting read. So you should read it.

Come Monday, on that oh-so-not-special-holiday, and though I will be in ze romantic France (oh la la!), you will not find me with a man of any sort (except for the adorable 4 yr old boy I live with). I am going to take myself to a cafe and get a big ole’ croissant. And then maybe a chocolate croissant. And a baguette. And some cheese. And some tartines… And then I’m going to read and enjoy this time to myself and reflect on what I found to be the best part of the article:

“Every guy has his purpose. There’s the guy who takes you great places, the guy you’re sleeping with, etc. If you’re enjoying yourself, and if you do it in the right way, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

And so, the wild and crazy kisser who actually broke your front tooth, which then required dental work; the guy who taught you to always ask for Sriracha in your deviled eggs; the man who introduced you to Wolf Parade; the man who introduced you to really good bourbon; the guy with kids who helped you remember why you do, or don’t, want them for yourself; the bisexual co-worker; the “poonhound”; the one that got away; and the one you let get away on purpose—they all have a place in your dating life. Don’t regret them.”

I still say, keep your standards high ladies. Know who you are, what you want, and don’t you dare settle. You can’t grow old with an asshole. Just be realistic and you’ll be just fine.

A bien-tôt!



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