portion, pleasure and planning: the French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook Dinner with Mireille Guiliano, San Francisco

by Jasmine Turner on May 10, 2010

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The San Francisco Dinner with Mireille Guiliano at Moussy’s below the Alliance Française was a great opportunity to meet the author and get a sneak preview of her latest publication, The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, the next installment in the FWDGF empire since French Women for All Seasons.

Mireille Guiliano and me!

I knew about the new book by checking her site periodically for updates. It was thrilling to see that the promotional tour was swinging through San Francisco, my hometown. I just adore Mireille Guiliano! I was so excited about this dinner and meeting her in person, that even though none of my silly friends would go with me (They went wine tasting with Prof. T to a South African tasting event. How dull!), I went on my own to rub elbows with my French Woman hero! Her champagne dinner recipe alone opened my eyes to the wonders of home-cooked French food and I’ve probably told everyone I know about it, like 23 times or so!

my goodness, Mireille Guiliano really is tiny cute and skinny!

Moussy’s is a little French bistro right below Alliance Française, a French language and cultural center on Bush Street between Larkin and Polk. Sometimes they have French films on Tuesdays with little parties beforehand, so take note for the future you Francophiles out there! Moussy’s is a charming place with a little area for Jazz music with a Wednesday night happy hour with a trio performing live. It’s got wonderful ambiance. Moussy’s also serves nice dinners too, and the chef, Nathan Ivry, has experience working at Jardinière, still my favorite!

Mireille Guiliano is just as gorgeous and friendly in person as the pictures of her on the web and her books would suggest. She is really petite and slim, too! Quel surprise! So all her non-diet dieting regimens must really work well. Before we ate she read a passage about cooking from her newest book, in which she emphasized how cooking is both sexy and fun. (That’s true!) She spoke about her delightful relationship with her mother, who always had marvelous tips in the kitchen; cooked healthy satisfying meals and emphasized the three “P’s:” portion, pleasure, and planning. The whole family seemed to love food. Apparently while eating breakfast they would anticipate lunch, and at lunch they’d be thinking of dinner.

I didn’t bother to plan at this exciting dinner, though I was certainly anticipating it. As a result, I gluttonously enjoyed my crisp Sancerre, perhaps to excess! Oh well, according to Mireille’s philosophy, I can enjoy today and pay for it tomorrow. No problem. Ms. Guiliano sat by me at the start of the meal. I couldn’t hold back my curiosity as to how she managed not to drink champagne constantly in her job as CEO of Veuve Clicquot USA. That would be very hard for me. She responded with something like “Oh, there’s so much champagne! It really is hard!” (I’m sure that she said this with more style and delicacy than I can quite remember.) I love her even more for that. She learned to enjoy only one or two glasses, always sipping them slowly while eating to avoid any embarrassing situations or day-after problems. It was so cute when the appetizers were passed around, little Fava Bean and Avocado Tartines, when she told me, “The French always have food with their wine.” I was proud to say, “I know. I took that principle out of your books.”

It was so awesome to sit beside her, chatting luxuriously about topics from her books, like: drinking half bottles of wine instead of the full one (that’s a hard one); learning to really taste, fully chew and enjoy each bite; and the dangers of the starve-then-binge cycle that most of America subscribes too. I had the first two FWDGF books stuffed in my bag, which she graciously signed for me. She’s so nice! I’m such a huge fan, Ms. Guiliano!!!

To sum it up…..Glamour-Glamour-Glamour! It was really special and sort of surreal to be in her presence and see her live because reading her books made such sense to me. She is the nicest skinniest little French lady and so hip about food and cooking and feminism and life in general. Her take home message, enjoy life, is one that really speaks to my personal philosophy.

I look forward to cooking from the “French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook,” and reading “Women Work & the Art of Savoir Faire.”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lorraine May 24, 2010 at 9:16 am

I loved reading about the evening you spent with Mireille. I am a huge fan too. And I was so happy to learn about the Alliance Francaise and Moussy’s. I live in northern NM but every year I visit with a close friend who lives within a few minutes walk of that area! I will certainly go there. Especially since I’ve spent the last two semesters at UNM trying to learn French! (I’m long past college age (decades) but the seduction of the language got to me!). Thanks again. And please check out my blog site: The Knitorialist.

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