Tuesday, 5 August 2008

English Women Don't Get Smug

On Saturday, I ended up buying a copy of French Women for All Seasons, the sequel to French Women Don't Get Fat. It was £1 in the charity shop and had yummy-looking recipes in it, which is why I bought it. The recipes are indeed good, but the bits that aren't actual recipes make me want to force-feed Mireille Guiliano KFC until she explodes. A lot of it makes sense, namely the idea that if you enjoy good quality food in moderation you probably won't end up with multiple spare tyres. But a lot of it is total bollocks, and bollocks that tends to assume that all of these slim glamorous French women are white and middle class at that. I haven't spent an awful lot of time in France, but I've never seen a black woman there who wasn't cleaning a toilet. Do these particular French women have the time and money to spend a leisurely hour dipping asparagus into home-made mayonnaise? I doubt it.

Anyway, the worst thing Guiliano advocates is Magical Leek Soup.

2 pounds leeks

1. Clean the leeks and rinse well to get rid of sand and soil. Cut off the ends of the dark green parts, leaving all the white parts plus a suggestion of pale green. (Reserve the extra greens for soup stock.)

2. Put the leeks in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. Pour off the liquid and reserve. Place the leeks in a bowl.

The juice is to be drunk (reheated or at room temperature to taste) every 2 to 3 hours, 1 cup at a time. For meals, or whenever hungry, have some of the leeks themselves, 1/2 cup at a time.

Apparently, French women all do this "leek weekend" once every three months. What, really? And because you are basically not eating, you're not to do anything strenuous. It is a weekend for sitting around in your pyjamas (Chanel, of course) reading (Proust, of course) and relaxing. Honestly, who has time for this? And can you imagine what it would do to your digestive system? Who has time to sit around farting leeks for an entire weekend? Don't get me wrong, I love leeks as much as the next foodie. I just have no particular desire to live on pond water for two days.

The other bit that really got me was when she states that a whole banana is two servings. This is the correct, Gallic-approved method of eating a banana:

1. Peel banana.

2. Chop banana in half. Place one half in clingfilm in the fridge.

3. Put the other half on a plate and chop into little bits.

4. Eat the little bits one at a time with a fork.

Can you imagine eating a banana like that? It's ridiculous! If I saw someone eat a banana like that I'd assume she had some form of OCD or an eating disorder.

But of course, the real problem with all this is the self-righteous, punchable smugness that pervades the entire book. I'm a beautiful, slim, glamorous woman, and you too can be like me if you give up your Curly Wurly habit and drink vile leek water instead. Well I'm not giving up my Curly Wurly habit for no Frenchie, I don't care how slim she is. Instead I shall dedicate my efforts to producing a new volume, in order to help those snooty French women be more like us fabulous Brits.


Introduction: The English are a nation of fat ugly munters and we know it

The English diet: Stodge, lard, stodge, chips, burgers and stodge. Vegetables? What are they?

Recipes: Discover just what a spotted dick actually is. And no, it's nothing to do with our chlamydia epidemic.

Chicken: How the proliferation of dodgy fried chicken establishments has made the English waistline what it is today.

Denial: How to convince yourself that if you order a Diet Coke with your doner kebab, it cancels out the calories in the kebab.

Binge drinking: If you puke it into the gutter at 3am, the calories don't count!

Desperation: The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Hollywood Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, and how to celebrate breaking them all with a family-sized bar of Dairy Milk.

Self-loathing: British women have been told for ages that we are pasty, pear shaped, mousy, flabby, inelegant and generally inferior to our sisters across the Channel. And what are we good for? No 1 in Europe for teen pregnancies, GET IN!!

Reading this book is only the beginning of a wonderful life of self-loathing. If you just stick to these rules of following a lard-based diet, rich in refined carbohydrates and dodgy additives, you will never suffer from the terrible smugness that blights those slim Frenchies across the channel.

What do you reckon? Should I fire off 3 chapters and a synopsis to Guiliano's publishers?

1 comment:

Schneewittchen said...

I once had a French woman friend room with me. She was able to eat a box of chocolates by having just one every evening. I still can't believe how or why she did that.
She was beautiful, but only in the sense that every woman is and no matter what she eats or smooths on her skin.
There was a bloke on TV this morning talking about the way the media manipulates or tries to manipulate women into ridiculous eating habits. He said that it was known, it was deliberate and if it were men they were targeting it would have been made illegal years ago.