Monday, 12 September 2011

Losing It in France by Sally Asher

Losing It in France by Sally Asher is this week's unplanned choice. 

On Sunday morning, in the glittery, spring sunshine I did one of my favourite things. I went to a Book Fair. Before me lay Aladdin's Cave - boxes of books under, over and around trestle tables that stretched off in to the distance within the vast warehouse. 

Unfortunately, the books were not arranged by genre or grouped by category or author which forced book hunters to peer in to every box. Which of course is not a problem for the avid reader. But why is it that so many readers are married to non readers who stand by, like hour glasses, counting down to what they believe is adequate book hunting time for their partners? 

The undercurrent of nervous frenzy felt by harried partners on an unsaid schedule was palpable. Even so, amidst the group was a mother and daughter happily rummaging through the childrens' book boxes, serious gents looking for academic tomes (possibly disguised as westerns) and a father with a young son who whined "...but you told mum we were going to Bunnings."

I have to admit I was one of those harried partners who wondered how long her husband's patience would last. My husband is not a recreational reader because he argues he does "enough report reading in his job as it is".

We don't share many hobbies either, although he did a very good job of carrying the heavy box of books I was slowly collecting, and he also likes to eat what I cook. 

Which makes the choice of book for this week's blog even more amazing as it is one of his choosing. 

Actually I think the book chose him as he wasn't actively looking at anything in particular. The pale blue hardcover (without dust its jacket) with the modest title, so easily over looked by one and all  (but in hindsight looks so very French) wriggled itself in to his hand. 

On the drive home I wondered what it was about the title that took his fancy. 

Was it the destination "France"? Was it the words "Losing it" significant as he was getting tired of holding the box of books? Or maybe it was something else. 

Perhaps he was thinking about gay Pareee, city of love, and losing "IT" was actually about losing you know what? 

When I first saw the title I actually thought of losing one's baggage or wallet, or mind which says a lot about my romantic streak!

Anyway, the book turned out to be a winner. I read it from cover to cover that night and enjoyed the memoir about an overweight, young Australian woman who lived in France with her French lover and his family for three years.

During this time she learned not only to speak French but think French. She also learned the secrets of French food philosophy, etiquette and the need to never diet again. 

After Sally had lost weight, gained self esteem and parted company with her lover she returned to Australia.  She arrived home reborn, refreshed and enthusiastic about all things healthy and delicious. 

She married an Olympic athlete, set up house in Victoria and published her book in 2011.

"I remember Josianne gasping in horror as I heaped confiture a la fraise (strawberry jam) on to my baguette in the morning and piled white sugars in my coffee." p65.

At first I thought the author was too repetitive in her insistence that dieting was not necessary, planning was everything and we get fat not because of what we eat but how we think. 

Food is this book is seen as a celebration of the appetite NOT a plug to fill our emotional voids.  

"Remember, you must feed your body, your heart and soul, not starve them." p209 

Her repetitiveness throughout the book eventually won me over. She does make her point and the repetition soon became a mantra that would serve us all. 

"The French take shopping for food very seriously. It is probably as important and sacred as eating the (you choose) must look alive." p98

Ask yourself does your fast food choice look alive? Do you think your junk food choice looks as though it has ever lived?

She also reminded me of many old favourites, that I now plan to re-visit, guilt free - French Onion soup, Salad nicoise and Chocolate mousse to name a few.

Cherry clafoutis

125g plain flour
2 eggs
75g caster sugar
icing sugar for dusting
250 ml milk 
1 x 425g black pitted cherries

Preheat oven 180C. Place flour and eggs in a bowl and beat together until smooth. Add caster sugar and milk. Mix well. Butter a baking dish and arrange cherries over the bottom of the dish. Cover evenly with batter and bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden. Dust with icing sugar. Serves 6. 

Note: I doubled the amount as I have four hungry sons. I also used frozen raspberries instead of cherries.


©2011 My Novel Idea Ann Etcell-Ly/All Rights Reserved

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