on November 1, 2006
The French Woman is at it again. Her style and approach to life and food is so optimistic and real that one can not help but be charmed and uplifted. Different from the first book, this one has new recipes and meal plans and some gems of wisdom on how to stop mindlessly stuffing our mouths full of tasteless junk. I've already started to incorporate her "50% Solution", the concept of eating only half the portion you're given or sharing an entree with a tablemate. Her idea is that if you stop midway through a meal and reflect on how you are feeling, instead of eating the "whole enchilada" just becasue it's there, you will realzie that you are more than content. In doing so,you'll shave off a lot of calories and if this habit becomes a routine yout waistline will get slimmer. This isn't a "diet" book and it's not going to help you take off the extra pounds before Christmas; however if you follow the general principles you will lead a fuller life and realize that happiness is not found on a dessert plate.
Mireille Guiliano does an even better job in this latest book than she did in "French Women Don't Get Fat."
While reading, I kept thinking about how many readers will be able to "see"
themselves in the kind of unconscious eating/living she describes.
To me, if there is one essential lesson to be taken from this book, it is this: SLOW DOWN and begin to live
and eat CONSCIOUSLY. It won't really cost you anything to do so, and it may just melt some unwanted
pounds from your body. And, if it DOES cost you a little bit more in money, is it worth that to have a LOT more in health, slimness, and enjoyment of life?
Good reading that teaches us a lot about good living!
Judging by the amount of French lifestyle themed books out there, one can safely say that to capitalize on one's French-ness while selling an idea may equate to capturing a good chunk of good old American change. Mireille Guiliano, in her sequel to "French Women Don't Get Fat," does just that; like an elder more sophisticated sister, she imparts age old secrets of femininity from her older and more food savvy culture. "French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasures," allows Guiliano to indulge in a little nostalgia while making her point. No matter that most of what she advocates smacks of common sense passed on to all of us by our respective grandmothers, in terms of diet and style, nothing seems to fascinate the American world more than that proverbial "woman of a certain age," chic, thin, successful--- she is the president and CEO of a major champagne company--- and French to boot---her prettily accented English amply peppered with the appropriate French bon mot making whatever she says seem all the more charming and laced with worldly albeit not weary wisdom.
As the title suggests, Guiliano uses a seasonal approach to life and food. Eating the best food in small portions requires knowing a little something about the marketplace. I may be able to purchase strawberries all year round, but do they taste as good as those obtained from a local farmer during early summer? If the taste approaches that of ambrosia, need I overeat, or will just a little explosion of taste suffice? Simply put, for Guiliano, better quality equals less quantity. Generally speaking, however, she advocates the 50 percent solution, where bisecting one's restaurant portion relegates a proper amount and two times the fun as the second half can be eaten as another meal.
Regardless of the timelessness of the information gleaned from this second book, Guiliano strikes the right chord simply because she has a passion for life. She has a well-rounded existence where she does not fixate on what the latest diet fad, drug or food factoid is imparted from the likes of the Good Morning America show. Instead of reading or watching about other people's lives, she lives out her own, hence enabling herself to tell her story and give examples, good and bad, about her choices.
Many reviewers have criticized Guiliano for including how-to information on scarf tying and for some advertorial comments regarding Clicquot wines. Again, the author here merely explains the accoutrements of her lifestyle; she wants only to indulge in her passion and to share it with the enthusiastic public who made her first book such a success.
Bottom line? Guiliano's dieting secret seems relatively simple. In fact, in many popular dieting diatribes, the same underlying theme pulses underneath the portion control, recipe considerations and menu planning: get a life with a warm focus where food, drink and other pleasures enhance rather than conquer. Anyone who liked "French Women Don't Get Fat" will definitely enjoy and appreciate "French Women For All Seasons."
Diana Faillace Von Behren
on November 26, 2006
I liked the author's first book very much,(obviously a lot of other people did, too). At the same time I felt she was somewhat constrained by having to keep things very basic, explaining what must have seemed obvious to her. I'm happy to find she lets herself fly in this book. While it carefully explains the principles of living well (and longer) without weight, this one shows you HOW to practice her philosophy in the context of actual daily living, in all four seasons. You will find a great deal of fresh information, recipes (I just made her mackerel for my kids' Sunday supper--simple and they loved it). There's plenty of guidance that you can use immediately (Her "fifty-percent solution", for instance, is small stroke of genius). But even more, the book conveys a real sense of integrated living, not so much a set of abstract do's and don'ts, which I sometimes felt with the first book. Call it French Women 360. Anyway, reading this book I realize I didn't completely understand how the mental part of living her way guides the physical part of well being--active management of pleasures, optimal sensory experience, etc. It's actually pretty deep stuff when you give it some thought. Anybody who thinks this book offers nothing new has, I suspect, missed a lot of things in both books and should probably re-read them. The author can be deceptively nonchalant when offering some very potent insights. Don't be fooled by the fact that she offers a dozen ways to tie a scarf (not something I personally needed!). In a way such elements are really just a parable for living intensely and not surrendering to the boredom of routine. The first book, I don't mind admitting, changed my life(20 lbs lost without pain, to be exact) . I'm still absorbing this one, but already I sense my awareness altered. Very impressive.
on November 16, 2006
so i'm not the type to read dieting books, but when 'french women don't get fat' came out i snapped it up and devoured it in three days. and now this beautiful second morsel comes out and i do the same! this one is softer and less pretentious about the differences in a european diet verses an american diet, but it hammers home the same issues without seeming accusatory at all-- eat smaller, eat better quality, keep things simple and delicious, enjoy your food and your life, and a dozen other things that when you read them seem both a revelation and completely reasonable, like common sense you've somehow forgotten. and there are recipies! ever wanted to know what to do with duck or rabbit or skate? here are a few tried and true and still good-for-you recipies to help you! and it's all arranged seasonally, so those of us who like the changes in the world (or live in florida and want to be reminded of them!) can shift the eating around what's available and at it's best, and can get better in tune with the year and our bodies. even if you don't need to lose weight, or if you don't want to, it's a nice little reminder that life is good if you know how to look at it, and that we're worth the effort of finding happiness and enjoyment.
on December 20, 2006
Just as Coco Chanel transformed the fashion world and popularized the little black dress, Mireille Guiliano popularizes the French woman's lifestyle --- joie de vivre (the good life). FRENCH WOMEN FOR ALL SEASONS contains the "secret of pleasure," a recipe for a champagne lifestyle that embraces this simple philosophy: "eat three meals a day; keep portions small; eat seasonal fruits and vegetables; drink lots of water; savor wine; walk more; and have occasional treats." Mireille (I feel I can call her by her first name after being privy to her secrets) shares her family recipes and her "philosophy of pure and simple, and always pleasure" and "the importance of seasonality to the French woman's lifestyle."
The most noticeable and, in my opinion, most pleasurable feature about Mireille's seasonal menus is the fact that each dinner menu includes a glass of red or white wine. This is definitely the lifestyle for me. Mireille provides recipes that are based on the seasonality of foods and advises adjusting your lifestyle to the seasons of the year. Wonderful and simple recipes for Shrimp and Leek "Mimosa," Sea Scallops and leeks in Champagne Sauce, Grilled Steak with Wine Sauce and Quiche Lorraine are part of our French pleasure lessons.
One of my most vivid memories of Paris was a visit to an indoor market to seek out the French lifestyle apart from the tourist hot spots. I have never seen fruits and vegetables so large, so colorful and so fresh. It was like they came from another planet. The leeks Mireille uses in her Magical Leek Soup were of a length and size that brought out my camera because I knew no one in the states would believe me when I described their size! And never again will I visit Manhattan without going to the Union Square Greenmarket. I can't wait to see and taste the bounty that Mireille says awaits me. Mireille's description of the orgy of fruits and jewels of fresh vegetables is one that rivals a Saks Fifth Avenue storefront displaying emeralds and diamonds.
It won't be hard for most women to accept the concept of the French lifestyle: "All about pleasure." Most women I know gravitate toward this anyway, but it is usually short-lived and a quick cure for stress. Just mention champagne and "a French woman's eyes sparkle...Champagne is a state of mind, a very pleasant one." I love this concept for bien-être (well-being).
"A French woman must look soignée, pulled together." With bon chic, bon genre (half style, half attitude), Mireille reveals secrets for beauty routines, tying a scarf properly, arranging flowers of the season, creating a chic look with accessories and investing in classic pieces of clothing that are eternally stylish. I especially appreciated learning the secrets to a successful cocktail dinatoire. The dinatoire is a very easy and very French way to entertain, and of course the first secret to this most Parisian social gesture is to pick a good wine.
Mireille's 50% rule of consuming half of what you put on your plate or in your wine glass is easily achieved by just asking yourself how much you really want what you are about to eat. Contrary to most healthy eating programs that are low in fats, "French women eat cheese all the time, often instead of dessert." This makes sense because wine and cheese go together so well, and Mireille asserts positively that wine is food.
The Wine is Food chapter is the absolute best wine guide I have ever read. Mireille explains everything wine --- how to buy it, to decant or not to decant, how to store it and how to pair it with foods for the most pleasurable experiences. As a new connoisseur of Champagne and disciple of Mireille's secrets, I have decided not to reserve this special bubbly "food" just for special occasions. Instead, Mireille has freed me to enjoy joie de vivre (the good life) much more frequently with the "wine of kings." Champagne has "reigned as the wine not only of sovereignty but of love, romance, and celebration." It was most gracious of Mireille to share this next secret with us so we are not caught making a faux pas in front of a French man while in the South of France: "In Provence or on the Riviera --- rosés are the apéritif of choice."
The simple pleasures have always been touted as the best. Mireille brings us back to this concept with classic French style and the added indulgence of Champagne. Mireille's upbringing, warmth, French phrases and well-traveled insights shine through with effervescence. Her vast experience in the wine industry is blended with the French l'art de vivre (the art of living) as if she were developing a new Champagne just for women. French women can always think of a good reason to drink Champagne. Voilà. "When in doubt, have Champagne" will be the first "secret of pleasure" I indulge in as a new French woman for all seasons.
--- Reviewed by Hillary Wagy
"The art of living is pacing yourself in the long run." ~ pg. 34
After discovering a delicious recipe for croissants in Mireille Guiliano's first book: "French Women Don't Get Fat," I was eager to read her second book. "French Women For All Seasons" is as much about the pleasures of food as it is about learning to abstain from overindulgence.
As each season passes, Mireille Guiliano blissfully captures moments she loves. Whether she is talking about her idyllic childhood or her travels she seems to be able to weave in subtle comments about weight issues. Diet aside, I think her love of yoga and walking are her real secrets. Her stories of riding her new bike may also inspire you to dust off the bike in the garage.
There are interesting moments like the recipe for a facemask made with strawberries and Vaseline. The cucumber and yogurt mask seemed more acceptable. I'm also not quite sure why she objects to refrigerating fruit. I tend to keep a fruit salad in the refrigerator but I can see her point about eating room temperature fruit in season.
Many of the recipes look delicious and you might want to try to make your own eggplant tapenade, butternut squash soup, pears with ginger and chocolate mousse or grilled peaches with cinnamon and rosemary. There are a few recipes for pasta and lots of ideas for potatoes. Mireille Guiliano's love affair with fresh fruits and vegetables is very evident. While the recipes are interesting it is Mireille's cozy writing style that draws you into the book and keeps you reading right to the last page.
If you love this book you may also want to look for books by Peter Mayle.
~The Rebecca Review
on November 1, 2006
Mireille Guiliano's 'French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure' is not just for individuals interested in being or connecting to French women! Guilliano shares with us many recipes about how to live and how to eat and how to enjoy life!
Nevertheless, this was one thought provoking book filled with many interesting (AND some local New York City suggestives) tidbits suggesting to do things in moderation and taking the time to simply enjoy life. Filled with some interesting recipes, this book really is not about food, but about healthy living . . . and it gets high marks for this. Easy to read and humerous, there is something everyone can take with them here.
One thing I would like to point out: if you're a gentlemen, don't turn away from this title: there's a lot here for us fellows to pay attention to!
Mireille's books "French Women Don't Get Fat" and "French Women For All Seasons" are both meant to be savored like fine chocolate. Reading them slowly allows you to absorb the information and contemplate the ideas and completely understand the term joie de vivre. To read them too quickly would be to rob oneself of a completely relaxing experience that is capable of truly teaching you to appreciate the little things in life that we Americans commonly overlook in our daily hustle-bustle.
Both books are beautifully written and filled with practical - and doable - advice, charming anecdotes, and delicious recipes. They made me fall in love with my French heritage all over again, and gave me a new appreciation and pride in being an American.
I now understand my Grandmother's love of scarves, and have begun to collect my own. I do regret not living closer to a farmer's market, as well as not appreciating the one I did live near while I was a child. But I am inspired to make my garden quite extensive this year.
I believe that passing the truths in this book onto the next generation would be such a valuable tool for them to love well, laugh often, avoid gluttony, and live very thoughtfully and with much pleasure. Thank you, Mireille.
on January 28, 2010
A quote form Henry Thoreau, "Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines". This quote places the entire book, "French Women for All Seasons" under the umbrella of our going green way of life - to keep things local, seasonal and affordable.
Another quote which expands on "You are what you eat" - by gastronome Brillat-Savarin is, "The destiny of a nation depends on how it feeds itself". In a nutshell, living in the moment, enjoying the season you are in and considering your surroundings encompasses the high points of Mireille Guiliano's book.
The book divides French habits from American. Where we Americans are all about excess and all-you-can-eat, Ms. Guiliano contrasts the differences. Eating just to eat or to avoid boredom, while tapping on laptops are not reasons to consume food. But those are rampant reasons to eat in America. In France eating is an event. Even sipping on coffee is pared down yet savored. Rather than a quad grande with extra whip, the French will partake in a demitasse cup of espresso and receive more gratification with fewer calories in more time.
Montagne observed that gluttony is the source of all our infirmaries. Considering many Americans will eat, gain weight and go see a chiropractor to help their aches and pains, we are not that far from the truth. It's a proven fact that eating less, drinking more water and exercising daily will drop your weight, keep ills at bay and lead to better well-being. It's an easy equation and one we Americans avoid like the plague. Why don't we follow this routine? Why don't we take the stairs more than the elevator? Probably because we have so many options. Much like our excessive food consumption, we have no idea where to begin. Mireille Guiliano gives us a formula of how to WANT to live differently.
She breaks it down into seasons. What's fresh? What brings back memories of that season? How it's more economical and supports local growers. Lots of yummy reasons to live in the moment and enjoy the season we are in.
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all addressed here. Guiliano discusses what is in season and what to look forward to year after year in that season. Harvest soups in the fall have a certain smell. A certain feeling comes from being cold and getting warm from the inside out. We all love it and Guiliano tells us how to achieve it year after year and ultimately live in the moment. ---Lisa Plancich, Etiquette Writer & Editor