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250 ways to prepare eggs

eggs

250 manières pour apprêter les oeufs, suivies de quelques recettes inédites de cuisine, 1898

On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casses des oeufs.

You know the saying “You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs”? Well, it is supposedly French in origin and emerged as a saying somewhere during the mid-nineteenth century, which is no surprise given the unprecedented level of egg breaking that was no doubt happening in France.

The author, Monsieur Ferdinand Grandi, parrots famed epicurean Brillat-Savarin in support of his obsession:

La découverte d’un mets nouveau fait plus pour le bonheur du genre humain que la découverte d’une étoile.

Brillat-Savarin

(The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star). That was his way of saying “Bite me, astronomers—chefs rule.”  So, I guess Monsieur Grandi was a sort of culinary Galileo when it came to making eggs. It’s not surprising, coming from a guy who wrote an entire book on the art of folding napkins. He also dabbled in food-themed poetry. In 1893, he wrote a book about 130 ways to prepare eggs, but clearly that wouldn’t do. Especially after another author wrote a book with 200 ways to prepare eggs. Now, Grandi could hold bragging rights to being top dog among the three authors of books dedicated solely to eggs.

Grandi’s  preface ends with the bold declaration that he would quit cooking if eggs were ever banned. um…ok.

oeufs

 

A treatise that includes everything from his thoughts on Darwin to commentary on the arts is well worth a read. You could be the most pedantic guest at your next cocktail party.

Or, if you just want to stay at home, stopping first, perhaps, at Walmart or Costco to pick up a few dozen eggs, you could try your hand at
Rissoles à la Pygmalion, Oeufs à la Olga, or any of the 248 other recipes.

250

 

Need to do a “cultural activity” for your French class? Read through the book and pick out a recipe or two. You’ll be making meals that Grandi once made for the “King of the Truffle,” Prince Demidov.

Bon appétit!

J’ai faim!

Hungry anyone? Eat some pizza.

Hungry and masochistic? Try French cooking. Here are a couple of sources to help you plunge into the deep end of cuisine:

Cuisine Attitude

Chef Cyril Lignac’s blog/magazine has got high quality recipes that will make Martha Stewart‘s fare look like your Aunt Betty’s funeral potatoes.

cuisine attitude

 

Intimidated? Afraid? A wise green man once said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” But then again, I don’t think anyone was serving up soufflé on Dagobah.

So I’ll go easy on you and give you another source:

Chocolate & Zucchini

Upbeat and charming Clotilde has a treasure trove of recipes, and her site has both English and French versions. I made the blueberry coffee cake and it was easy and amazing. I pinned it to my “random pins of Frenchness board” and it clearly made other people’s mouths water as well.

Chocolate and Zucchini

 

Go ahead. Be brave. And, hey, if you have a spectacular fail, take a photo and send it to us so we can ruthlessly mock you. Because that’s what friends are for.

French women (and men, and children) do get fat

You’ve all heard it: French women don’t get fat. It’s the famous “French paradox” that gives us just another reason to hate and envy the French. Here’s a brief report on it from 60 minutes:

So, if we drink wine and eat cheese, but don’t drink milk we’ll be skinny like French people? Not likely.

Well, what then? What are the French hiding from us, and how can we turn it into a pill that we can swallow when drinking our next Double Big Gulp?

According to the smug and somewhat condescendingly titled post “10 Eating Rules French Children Know (But Most Americans Don’t)“, French kids eat real food, don’t snack (except for a traditional 4 o’clock after school snack), don’t guzzle soda, sit down for real meals, and appreciate their food. Their school lunch menus read like the daily special at a whole foods café: first course: lentil salad, followed by roasted chicken and haricots verts, then a cheese course, and finally some fresh fruit for dessert.

I don’t know why we do this, but we “Anglo-Saxons” love to beat ourselves up with tales of French superiority. What we’re forgetting is that Americans didn’t used to be so fat either. We just radically altered our food system with sugar-laden highly processed foods compounded by stupid nutritional misinformation such as the low-fat craze that helped to inject even more sugar (because, hey!, sugar is fat-free!) into our diets. The “eating rules” of the French were once common sense in America. The French aren’t ahead of us in a secret race to the ultimate diet plan, they are a couple of decades behind us in a race to become the humans of Wall-E.

wall-e-human

But they’re catching up.

Sure, the French love to attack McDonald’s (or “Mac-Do” if you want to say it the French way), but not as much as they love eating there. The “McDonaldization” of France is helping teach French kids the secrets that every American child knows: food should not resemble any living plant or animal; it should be deep-fried and accompanied by soda and a toy. And for breakfast? Bowls of sugar!!!

FrenchCereals

Among the most popular cereals in France are sugary gobs of a Nutella-like substance wrapped in a sugary crunchy shell. The French are slowly losing their bragging rights for paradoxical thinness, but they might make up for it in most sugar-laden cereal.

An article in Le Monde in 2012 tries to maintain the French sense of superiority by saying that although obesity is a problem in France, the French are “resisting” better than the Brits and the Germans.

OECD

 

via OECD

According to data from the OECD’s website, France is doing better than most, but the projections don’t look pretty. The BBC recently did a story on “The perils of being fat, female, and French,” which suggests that French women might simply have more pressure to be skinny. The “tyranny of the silhouette.” French women have the lowest BMI in Europe, but they are also second highest in anorexia, according to a 2012 study.

The recent Sundance documentary, “Fed Up” which claims to “blow the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss,” while interesting enough, basically boils it down to something that should be painfully obvious: eat too much sugar and you’ll gain weight. Duh. The problem for people buying processed foods is that added sugar seems to be inescapable. Look at the shelves of your local supermarket, read the box labels, and you will see sugar in nearly everything.

Part of the secret of paradoxically thin French women is the textbook cliché of going chez le…[insert speciality food shop of your choice]. But who’s got time for that when a massive supermarket with a lot of frozen foods is just down the street?

So to conclude, French people do indeed get fat. So start looking for other ways to mystify and envy the French, because unlike that box of choco-treasures cereal, this French paradox thing is going to have a short shelf life.

5 things in Paris that taste as good as skinny feels

Whoever thinks that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” has probably never been to Paris. Or if they have, they’re eating the wrong things. I realize that many of you are probably in a post-Halloween sugar crash stupor. But even if you have vowed never to eat sugar again, you should probably reconsider if you happen to go to Paris.

Here are five of my personal favorite ways to not lose weight in Paris (disclaimer: we’re not talking about high-end foodie choices here, but rather guilty pleasure crowd-pleasing goodness):

Macarons

macarons

I know, I know, every town in America now has a bakery that thinks they know how to make macarons. But they can’t. And I’m not saying that to be mean. The fact is, most macarons in Paris are not too great either. If you want to know what a good macaron tastes like, go to Pierre Hermé (those are some Pierre Hermé macarons pics I took in our apartment before devouring them). The flavors change with the season, but my favorite is probably “Mogador” (milk chocolate and passion fruit). You can also always rely on Ladurée (you can also rely on it always having a long line), and Jean-Paul Hévin is always a good choice for chocolate.

Religieuses

religieuse

 

A religieuse is my favorite pastry. This may not be to most trendy pastry (éclairs—the slightly less messy cousin to the religieuse— are enjoying an upswing in popularity), but nothing beats the ritual of decapitating the pastry and popping that creme-filled top in your mouth. Pictured above is the perfectly respectable Ladurée chocolate religieuse. In the summer they have a strawberry one that’s very good. My favorite (although much less photogenic) is Carl Marletti‘s. Le Figaro ranks Marletti third on their best religieuse list, behind Rollet Pradier, and Rouiller, so feel free to do your own comparison and tell me if I’m wrong to prefer Marletti.

Chocolates!

Patrick Roger

 

I like chocolate, and not always the ones I’m supposed to like. At Patrick Roger, the “Valparaiso” chocolate is filled with an amazing burst of lime, and “Tenderness” has a perfectly roasted and caramelized hazelnut center. I’m not in love with La Maison du chocolat. Richart, on the other hand, always tempts me—especially the spiced collection. In some alternate reality where I have money to burn, the $850 burlwood vault of chocolate would be my equivalent of a box of cuban cigars. For chocolate bars, I like Michel Cluizel‘s collection. If you’re a foodie (I’m more “Chowhound” than foodie; more gourmand than gourmet), you can probably list Italian chocolates that I should prefer and are probably already questioning my taste, so I may as well really shock you and say that I LOVE the Belgian Côte d’Or chocolate bars they sell at most supermarkets. In particular, the salted caramelized pecan milk chocolate (Did he say “milk chocolate”??? Shock! Horror!) bars. It’s kind of a nostalgia thing from when I lived in Belgium.

Crêpes

Crêpes!

 

A good old street crêpe with Nutella, sliced banana, coconut (and a splash of Grand Marinier if you’re feeling extra decadent). You can make them at home, but make sure you get that really good powdered kind, not the long, sweet stringy kind used in German Chocolate cake recipes.

I know it’s not French but…Gelato

amorino

Amorino stores are everywhere. Grom is better, and in Italy I’m sure it gets better still. Due to proximity, I get Amorino. I like it way more than the overrated French Berthillon. Amorino is fairly low-brow, but it’s a far cry from a McFlurry.

 

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