Wednesday, September 26, 2007

French Women, Teenage Boys, and A Flat Sandwich

Right now I am reading French Women Never Get Fat. I am also reading How to Feed a Teenage Boy.

You might think these two books are really quite different. They are.

French Women is written by Mireille Guiliano (, a glamorous woman who is a spokesperson for Veuve Clicquot and a senior executive at the world's leading luxury goods company LVMH. In her book, she recommends bread, Champagne, chocolate and romance as key ingredients to a balanced diet and lifestyle. She cites her favorite pastimes as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is no mention of children.

After visiting France and seeing that in fact the women there are generally quite thin, I thought this would be an interesting read, and it did not disappoint.

How to Feed a Teenage Boy is written by Georgia Orcutt, the mother of two tall and hungry teenage boys and author of many cookbooks. She is not as successful at self marketing as Mireille because I cannot find much other information about her. But if you think about it, she has all the qualifications she needs to write this book. (

As the mother of three boys who I know will soon be consuming scary quantities of food, I thought this would be an interesting read, and it did not disappoint.

You might guess that Mireille and Georgia would not get along. Mireille started drinking champagne and wine (or at least tasting it) before she was ten. Neither wine nor champagne appear in Georgia's index at all. Mireille extolls the virtues of small portions food, consumed with enjoyment. Georgia speaks frankly about how many calories your teenage athlete will need to eat on a daily basis. I can tell you this does not mean small portions. Georgia's book contains a recipe for a sandwich that actually calls for two teenage boys to SIT on it for at least 20 minutes. Mireille I don't think would touch such a sandwich.

Believe it or not, though, these books do have quite a few things in common. Yes, they both have recipes. They also both emphasize fresh foods, simply prepared. Both books advise staying far away from processed foods and synthetic ingredients. Both authors emphasize the importance of eating three hearty meals a day. (OK, Mireille says French women never snack, and Georgia says teenage boys can and must snack.)

Mireille does mention that her favorite pastime; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I know she has at least that in common with teenage boys.

The poached pears I made from the recipe in French Women Never Get Fat was heartily enjoyed by all the boys in my house the other night for dessert. The Slow-Cooker Sloppy Joes from How to Feed a Teenage Boy I made later in the week were a huge hit too.

By far the biggest hit has been the sandwich. I had to alter the recipe by cutting it in thirds so each boy could sit on his own section. It was quite flat at the end of 20 minutes. Those 20 minutes were pretty peaceful too. One son was thirsty and couldn't even bring himself to get up and get a drink of water.

As only mothers of sons can appreciate, my youngest thought it was SO FUNNY that he passed gas while sitting on his sandwich. Until a few minutes later when he got very concerned that it might affect the taste of his dinner. He was worried, but it turned out OK. I did not taste it.

And you can be damn sure that Mireille would not have tasted it either.


The Big Boss said...

Oi, achei seu blog pelo google está bem interessante gostei desse post.

This is the beginning of a comment that someone tried to post on this entry. It took me a while to realize that it is not in Spanish, it's in Portugese. Do read my blog in Portugese? Please translate to English if you'd like to post a comment.

chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

OK, maybe I missed something but why were your kids sitting on their sandwiches?

The Big Boss said...

Chigiy, what possible reason would there be to sit on a sandwich? There is no logical answer. Because they are boys and it was fun. They loved it. It's a weird thing.