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The right bite. August 27, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. I just finished reading French Women Don’t Get Fat, the 2005 bestselling entry in the weight-loss wars. (I know I’m behind the trend here, but it was on a dollar sale rack benefiting my local library, and I was curious.) The book basically preaches a commonsense approach to weight loss: Eat as small a portion as you can bear and lead as active a lifestyle as you can manage. 

Let’s just say I can bear smaller portions of some dishes than others, but it’s hard to argue with that message. However. In one chapter, the author insists that you chew each mouthful of food to pulp before swallowing. This advice always ticks me off, and it was especially outrageous coming from a woman who spent almost the entire rest of the book proclaiming what sensualists French women are.

I, Silence Dogood, am here to tell you that no one can be sensual who chews their cud like a cow. Sensualists want to enjoy food at the perfect temperature, texture, and aroma, and it quickly loses appeal if it’s too warm, too cold, or starting to congeal, get mushy or hard, lose its scent or become overpowering, and so on. I cannot think of anything less sensual than putting a bite of food in your mouth and then sitting there, masticating away, thinking “I need to chew this 100 times before I swallow. 44… 45… oh, wait, I’ve lost track!” Unless, of course, it’s looking at someone else while they’re earnestly chewing their own cud.

There is one thing to say about this sort of eating, and it is “Yuck!!!!” But as a weight-loss tactic, it would work for me: I can’t think of a more effective appetite suppressant. Not only would a single endlessly-chewed bite be enough to kill my appetite, but by the time I’d managed to swallow it, the rest of the meal would be cold, congealed… gross. Might as well just stick a wad of gum on your plate and get it over with.

Lest this post leave you with a bad taste in your mouth (I really did try not to say that, at least for five seconds), let me leave you instead with a truly great and insightful quote from the end of the book: “The great Provencal writer Marcel Pagnol believed that God gave laughter to human beings as consolation for being intelligent.” Better to chew on a thought like that than a single interminable bite, say I.

             ‘Til next time,

                       Silence

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Comments»

1. Krys - August 27, 2008

Maybe the 100 chews is just to make a minimalist, haute cuisine, super-expensive meal seem larger? Seriously, I agree with you that chew-counting rather takes the enjoyment out of a meal. Might as well have a meal-replacement-in-a-can or a handful of vitamin pills instead.

/krys

Right you are, Krys! The author suggested serving small plates of food, and she may have been trying to make them last longer and seem like more food, especially since (as she also notes) we Americans are used to supersized servings. But I don’t think overchewing is the best way to achieve that!

2. Weight Loss » Blog Archive » The right bite. - August 27, 2008

[...] Original post by Poor Richard’s Almanac [...]

3. Alan - August 28, 2008

If you are counting chews (that sounds really weird) you can hardly be enjoying any of the other sensual aspects of dining!

On a more sensual note (and to respond to an earlier post), goat milk butter is possible and it is WONDERFUL!!! We just made some. It is in the refrigerator waiting for breakfast bliss. The French have nothing on East Central Ohio! (There is a nice French lady visiting her folks who live just up the mountain from us. She comes to get yogurt, milk, eggs, cheese, and if I ever release it to the public I’m sure she will be after our butter. She also likes our basil, tomatoes, garlic, chard, lettuce, and other garden items.) So I say, let the French eat cake. be true to your local foods and enjoy life!

Yum—you’re making me wish WE lived in East Central Ohio!!!

4. Curmudgeon - August 28, 2008

Ah yes, Mireille. A while back she moved in with us for several weeks–sure felt that way to me. She showed up at our table at each and every meal–“Mireille says…”, “Do you know what Mireille has to say about…”, “According to Mireille…”. Very pesky, that Mireille chick.

Ha!!! Good thing she moved out before she emptied your wine cellar!

5. Wing Nut - September 3, 2008

I completely agree that the chewing a bite of food 100 times is ridiculous and unappetizing. But I love a woman who doesn’t deprive herself of good food and allows herself a daily dose of chocolate and champagne! What a wonderful way of living!
Now I work in a nursery, eat like a horse, and have lost 30 pounds — all without chewing my cud. How about that? But sadly, on this new salary / budget, the daily chocolate and champagne are a little out of reach.
– Wing Nut
P.S. She wasn’t pesky; she was inspirational!

You lost 30 pounds?!! Geez, Wing Nut, please don’t kill us all with jealousy! I agree, living well is the best revenge. And if you can live well AND lose weight…


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