French Women For All Seaons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes & Pleasure is the follow-up book to the hugely popular French Women Don't Get Fat. While the first book focused on the basics for a more holistic approach to living and weight loss, this second books deals with refining the ideas and digging a little deeper into them. The material is presented by season and not only features recipes and menus, but also has advice in fashion, skin care, exercise, flower selection and much more. There are also a few standalone sections at the back: wine selection, entertaining, and French terms. Guiliiano combines all of the information with childhood memories and tons of "food for thought".
There are so many great things to love about this book. With a serene and Zen-like presentation, Guiliano takes the time to explains some of the basics from the first book for those of us who missed that one. That would include me, but more about that later. I especially loved her explanation of the 50% solution. Basically the idea is to only eat half of what's on your plate, then stop and reflect. If you aren't satisfied, eat half of what's left, and again stopping to check your level of satisfaction. I also loved that she stressed the importance of drinking water. I think I would die if I couldn't drink water and had to rely on other beverages. I *love* water. In case water doesn't thrill you, Mireille's also an advocate for drinking red wine daily (without skipping the water). I *love* Mireille.
Next up are the recipes all of which look quite easy to prepare. There are a few more complicated ones, but most of them are simple and nourishing. Sure there are a few more decadent looking ones, but that's where portion control or the 50% solution comes in. In addition, Mireille explains that when a French woman indulges, she compensates for it by eating lighter before or after her "treat". For the purposes of this review, I tried the Salmon with Fennel En Papillote on page 72. It was easy and delicious. Definitely something I'd make again. I loved the combination of ginger and lemon juice on the salmon and on the fennel. Even my husband commented on how good it was. The hard part is deciding which recipe to try next.
Along with the recipes, the author includes menus for a whole week for each season giving the reader ideas on how to put the recipes together with other foods for balanced eating. All of them looked delicious; I loved these.
I also loved all of the scarf ideas. From the sounds of it, the scarf is a major accessory for a French woman. She wouldn't be caught without one and would most likely own several. All of the ideas sounded fun and mostly easy to do. I had trouble following a few of them, but I think with practice and the correct scarf, I think I should be able to figure it out. I think I might try to incorporate a few of these ideas into my wardrobe.
All three chapters near the end of the book were fabulous. Here Guiliano explains wine and makes suggestions on pairings with different foods; includes recipes and ideas for entertaining; and gives the reader a French lesson explaining some of the terms she used in the book. Awesome!
Lastly there's an index at the back of the book which is extremely important to find all of those wonderful recipes as well as other information on living holistically.
I admit I haven't read the first book. The author suggests that you start with that one to "in order to achieve your point of stable equilibrium" and then progress to this second book. I love reading books in order, but in this case I decided to read this one first. Now, I'm really looking forward to obtaining and reading a copy of French Women Don't Get Fat. I can already tell I'm going to love it.
For more information about this book, please visit the Random House website. For more information about the author, her other book and plenty of other wonderful things including recipes, please visit Mireille Guiliano's website.
Update: This review can also be found on Edwards Magazine Bookclub.