Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for July 2014

French Kids Eat Everything

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French-Food-Rules1This week I blazed through French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon.   She and her husband move their two young kids to rural Brittany and enroll them in the local elementary school and preschool.

The book is about the culture shock they encounter while their kids eat at French schools and with their French relatives when it comes to food.

Three course preschool lunches might sound ideal to me but to their young daughter not having a choice about what to eat and having no snacks was a shock.  As their year passes Le Billion gradually sees the wisdom of the French way and everyone adjusts.  In the process she encapsulates French food culture into 10 rules.

Overall I liked the wisdom of the book quite a bit.  These rules seem practical and healthful and are dosed out with a lot of charm and honesty about how this was not an easy process for a family with one girl who only ate white pasta with parmesan and a mother whose parenting shaped this eating.

I like that our kids would eat what I eat.  I love the idea that they only eat four times a day with no snacking (which is our current schedule).  I like the idea that I can gift my kids with the ability to enjoy amazing variety of food we’ve been gifted with.  I love the idea that my kids could be table company rather than table nuisances.

However I’m still smarting and discouraged from the last chapter where the family moves back to Vancouver.  There they encounter a culture of peers that are served junk food constantly.  When Le Billon serves up a homemade apple tart her daughters friends ask for Oreos.  When her daughter goes back to preschool she’s forced to wolf down her lunch in 10 minutes (literally), undermining their efforts to have the girls enjoy their food.  Rather than lunch and no snacks, the kids snack 3 times a day in addition to lunch.

Le Billon’s attempts to change the food and service at her daughters’ schools are unsuccessful as the teachers think they shouldn’t be teaching about food.  Nor can the family change the broader culture of the girl’s friends.

This reality struck a cord with me.  How much we are shaped by our culture and how hard it is to reshape culture?  For now I’m in charge of what the kids eat but when they are in school?  When they visit other houses?

Overall the French system of eating seems almost ideal.  But can you only live like this if you live in France?

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Written by furthermusings

July 15, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Reviews