Book Review: Losing It In France
We Americans know how to do so many things well, but eating is assuredly not one of them. For that, it seems, we must cast our eyes across the Atlantic to France. In LOSING IT IN FRANCE: LES SECRETS OF THE FRENCH DIET by Sally Asher, we are transported to a land where enjoying food more leads to eating just the right amount of it. Part cookbook, part memoir, Asher teaches us how to enjoy food in all its facets—meal planning, shopping, cooking, serving and, of course, eating.
Proving that you can judge a book by its cover, LOSING IT IN FRANCE has an enticing cover photo that looks distinctly French—bread nesting in a bicycle basket in front of a pastry shop. In the U.S., we’d look at this scene and start counting calories and carbs. We’d see the bicycle and think, Ugh, exercise. In France, bread and pastry are a delightful part of every day pleasure and a bicycle is a fine way to get around. Asher’s point: food and exercise are not and should not be the enemy but should be enjoyed as part of life.
Asher, an Australian, takes the reader along as she details her time spent in France. She talks openly about her eating problems, including obsessions with weight and food, and how being immersed in a radically different culture gave her a new appreciation of food and eating. Without sugar-coating her journey from disregulated to “normal” eater, she offers the reader a path to follow—not trotting off to France, but taking the lessons of how the French relate to food and bringing them home.
As we read her description of buying food in France, we get a sense that there’s a better way to shop than rushing in and out of the supermarket. In the kitchen, we get an enlightened view of food preparation as pleasurable in itself, not as a chore sandwiched between other chores. The book is not only about eating, but about living in the moment and luxuriating in self-care and indulgence, whatever that means to you. For Asher it translates into taking care of all aspects of herself, showing up for her needs, and moving through life with a deep sense of connection to the abundant joy in it.
At the end of each chapter, Asher provides a list of simple golden rules. Nothing new and startling, but excellent reminders of how to stay on point. For you foodies, she includes yummy recipes to try. For you un-foodies (like me), just take what you can learn about improving your relationship with food and your body from this little book, and you’ll have enough to chew on for a lifetime.