Monday, August 24, 2009

The Anti-Diet Book

While away, I read Julie & Julia by Julie Powell. It's the true story of how a young, actress-wanna-be cooked and blogged her way through the 524 recipes in Julia Childs' Mastering the Art of French Cooking (scoring both a book and movie deal).

One of the side effects of cooking and eating meals such as Veau Prince Orloff (Veal gratineed with Onions and Mushrooms) nightly for an entire year was that Powell gained an additional 20 to 30 pounds. Three years after she completed her "project" Powell wrote that she still hadn't taken off the weight she put on during her "Julie/Julia" project.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I too cooked my way through Julia Childs' tome to alleviate the boredom I experienced as a young, lawyer in a big NY city firm. Still, I did not cook my way through every recipe, and pretty much stuck to ones that were less likely to give me a heart attack prior to reaching 40, and didn't take three days to assemble.

I remember making Homard a la Americain (Lobster simmered with Wine, Tomatoes, Garlic, and herbs) to impress this new guy I was dating who later became my husband.

My love affair with MtAoFC continues. I still will, on occasion make Souffle au fromage (cheese souffle) for dinner with a salad. And, Bouillabaise followed by La Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin (upside down apple tart), is one of my "go to" entertaining meals when we have company.

The point is, of course, moderation. There's a reason why MtAoFC is a classic cookbook. But you shouldn't eat butter drenched vegetables as side dishes to Filet de Boeuf Braise Prince Albert (Braised filet of Beef Stuffed with Foie Gras and Truffles) every night of the week, or even weekly (or you'll gain 20 plus pounds the way Powell did).

But you can enjoy fine food in moderation. Just make up for it with extra exercise and less eating other days.

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