Friday, July 6, 2012

French Kids Eat Everything: My response (Part 1, introduction)

from French Kids Eat Everything via Bon Appétit

First, let me say, I really loved this book. It gave a  fascinating glimpse into French culture and parenting. Also, the author is really smart. She was a Rhodes Scholar, so the whole time I kept thinking of the US Weekly "just like us" section. Except with Rhodes Scholars instead of celebrities. They too have uncertainties about parenting. The book is about how the author tried to navigate the cultural demands of living in France for a year. So it was about looking for answers, rather than pretending to have them all. Which is refreshing.

Like Bringing Up Bebe, which I have not read (and sort of didn't want to, but probably will now because I'm so curious), this book did talk about how French kids are very different from North American kids in terms of expectations and behaviors (they are treated and act like little adults).
French things I really like:
  • They really emphasize mindful eating, taking the time to enjoy food and really taste it. Ideally, everything should be mindful, in my opinion. Especially eating. Easier said than done. But the French seem really good at this.
  • They also emphasize social eating. So no eating by yourself, in the car, on the go, at your desk. Ever. I like this. I'm not sure how to make this happen because I usually eat two meals a day at my desk (lame).
  • They have a really healthy attitude towards food. No calorie counting or guilt. They really enjoy their food. They believe in moderation. They are grossed out by processed foods and the way Americans eat.

French things I'm sort of uncertain about:
  • They are super strict about "no snacking." This is embedded in their whole culture, so it is easier to enforce (e.g., daycare and preschool programs don't offer snacks, and birthday parties are scheduled around a specific meal, so it isn't just food everywhere anytime kids are together). However, any sort of crazy rigidness about food makes me uncomfortable. Also, they start this from day one. As in, when you are born. More on this tomorrow (here).
  • They feel strongly about never using food as a reward, punishment, pacifier, distraction, etc. This sounds awesome to me (their cars aren't littered with crushed cheerios? WHAT?!). But also really, really hard. And again, I couldn't be absolutist about it (e.g., nursing babies to calm them down). I'll write more on this later too (here).
  • Planning meals. I don't have any philosophical problem with this, I'm just overwhelmed by it. I'd love to. I want to. But can't seem to do it. I'm going to have to take baby steps here. And I'll probably blog about that too. So I'd love any tips from anyone who is good at this already.


  1. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved July Edition

    1. Great that you linked this in. If you check back in a couple of days there should be a nice collection of books

  2. Cute Site.


    Silver's Reviews

  3. Just to let you know that your review has been featured today on Carole's Chatter. Have a good week.