French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasure

French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasure

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by Mireille Guiliano

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For the legions of fans who asked for seconds after devouring French Women Don’t Get Fat, a charming and practical guide to adding some joie to your vie and to your table, every day of the year.

By letter, by email and in person, readers of Mireille Guiliano’s phenomenal bestseller French Women Don’t Get Fat have inundated her with


For the legions of fans who asked for seconds after devouring French Women Don’t Get Fat, a charming and practical guide to adding some joie to your vie and to your table, every day of the year.

By letter, by email and in person, readers of Mireille Guiliano’s phenomenal bestseller French Women Don’t Get Fat have inundated her with requests for more advice. Her answer: this buoyant new book, brimming with tips and tricks for living with the utmost pleasure and style, without gaining weight.

More than a theory or ideal, the French woman’s way is an all-encompassing program that can be practised anytime, anywhere. Here are four full seasons of strategies for shopping, cooking and moving throughout the year. Whether your aim is finding two scoopfuls of pleasure in one of crème brûlée, or entertaining beautifully when time is short and expectations are high, the answers are here. And here too are 100 new simple and appetizing recipes that feature French staples such as leeks and chocolate and many more unexpected treats besides, guaranteeing that boredom will never be a guest at your table.

Woven through this year of living comme les françaises are more of Mireille’s delectable stories about living in Paris and New York and travelling just about everywhere else – in the voice that has already beguiled a million honorary French women. Lest anyone still wonder: here is a new compendium of reasons – both traditional and modern – why French women don’t get fat.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for French Women Don’t Get Fat:

“You’ve heard it before. . . . But somehow, when the advice comes from Mireille Guiliano, you actually listen. A perfect, slim (and slimming) read for dieters and bon vivants alike.”
Marie Claire

“She spurs readers to give up the guilt and dieting extremes, to eat smarter and more joyfully. . . . Her writing, like her three-meals-a-day diet, is all part of her joie de vivre.”
Women’s Wear Daily

“The past few years have been dominated by ‘scientific’ diets . . . I welcome this break from the usual kind of quick-fix diet book . . . Will this book transform one’s eating habits? Its good sense is unanswerable – and, personally, I love the bit about not going to the gym.”
–Lynne Truss, bestselling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves

“Mireille Guiliano’s book is slender, elegant, well-spoken, sensible, and unembarrassed by the frank embrace of stratagems – just like the French women whom she holds up to the reader to admire and, if we can, to emulate.”
–Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon

French Women Don’t Get Fat is not only charming and witty, but useful. It made me want to run out and buy a pound of leeks and a bottle of Champagne!”
–Sharon Boorstin, author of Cooking for Love and Let Us Eat Cake

“Through stories and recipes, Mireille Guiliano shares her tricks, just like a good girlfriend should. And since it reads like one big juicy secret, you’re inclined to listen.”
The Globe and Mail

“A charming, humorous look at the healthy food habits that French women have had for years.”
Canadian Living

Mireille Guiliano knows that French women don't have time to sit around gloating about their slender waistlines; they're much too busy leading happy lives. In this engaging follow-up to her bestselling French Women Don't Get Fat, Guiliano answers readers' prayers (and emails) for more Parisian lifestyle tips. French Women for All Seasons covers the field with year-round suggestions for shopping, cooking, entertaining, and leisure activities. The book features 100 healthful new French recipes to brighten your days and lighten your scales.
Publishers Weekly
Guiliano serves up second helpings of her popular approach to healthy living in this gracious outing (following 2005's French Women Don't Get Fat), framed with an emphasis on the pleasures of seasonality, local produce and personal style. Everything in moderation is this New York City-based Frenchwoman's secret to staying slim and bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one's skin). Always with a mind to portion control, she presents weekly menus and over a hundred recipes organized by season and sauced with casual, idyllic culinary reminiscences. Some of her simple, appealing recipes tap her French origins (Potato Gratin la Normande calls for apples and soft, ripe Pont l' v que cheese), others nod to Americanized calorie-conscious taste (Turkey Scaloppine with Pesto) and some recipes reflect her proximity to New York City's Union Square Greenmarket (saut ed fiddleheads). A holistic fitness strategy (e.g., cycling as a mode of transportation) remains a theme and Guilano expands l'art de vivre to aging gracefully, entertaining and tying one's scarf with flair. The CEO of Champagne Veuve Clicquot, she also offers an excellent primer on wine. Guiliano's debut, which laid out a program, is more instructive, but the legions of readers fond of her encouraging, urbane voice will be happy to hear from her, though they won't learn any new secrets. 750,000 announced first printing; 12-city author tour. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
French Women Don't Get Fat, but they do respond gracefully to reader requests for more ideas about living well without chubbing up. Big expectations: there's a 750,000-copy first printing. With a 12-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Random House of Canada, Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Thus Charles Dickens began his Tale of Two Cities a century and a half ago. The cities he imagined were Paris and London. The countries he was contrasting were revolutionary France and late-eighteenth-century England. Two opposing worlds, two points of view. And two divergent destinies. When I wrote French Women Don’t Get Fat, I had in mind two disparate worlds of eating: the French and the American. Also, to a lesser extent, two cities, Paris and New York. What I did not realize at the time was that I was in fact writing a tale of two global cultures increasingly without borders. For better and worse, where you live no longer dictates how you eat. It’s up to you.

Even in our ever more complex world, it is still possible to have our cake and eat it too, to enjoy our days to the fullest in many ways while embracing a time-tested, back-to-basics approach to life–one filled with quality, sensitivity, seasonal foods, and pleasure. I don’t want to live in the past, but I do want to learn from it, and I believe that the culture of moderation, painstaking attention to taste, and healthy eating and living that I absorbed growing up in France can be adapted to today’s world and pursued just about anywhere. This is not to say I don’t understand or appreciate firsthand the challenges women these days face: the pressures of too much to do in too little time, of mega portions and industrially produced food often eaten on the run.

For a long time, this clash of cultural and lifestyle perspectives and outcomes took shape in my mind as a contrast between on the one hand fundamental elements of French culture and on the other behaviors I learned in America. But with the appearance of French Women Don’t Get Fat in language after language, I have come to understand that what I thought of as a national divide is really only an emblem for a conflict of two world orders. While I certainly don’t think I have all the solutions to this conflict, or any highly specialized expertise–I try not to take myself too seriously–I still have more experiences and secrets (and many more recipes and weekly menus) to share that will help people enjoy a better quality of life–and almost certainly lose weight.

Last fall a French reporter followed me through the Union Square Greenmarket in New York, where we encountered a class of eight-year-olds with their teacher. The kids were participating in a program called Spoons Across America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating children, teachers, and families about the benefits of healthy eating and the value of supporting local farmers and sharing meals around the family table. As it was fall, apples of many varieties were abundantly available. But when the reporter, half kidding, picked one up and asked a little boy what it was, the child drew a blank. Forget the variety; he did not know it was an apple. This city kid had apparently never seen one in real life. It gives one pause. I would bet, though, that he could recognize the packaged apple pie at the McDonald’s just opposite the greenmarket.

The world where I grew up–and my experience of apples–in Alsace-Lorraine could not have been farther from this little boy’s in New York City. As I recall it, all our neighbors had at least one fruit tree, and we had numerous apple trees in our garden. Come apple-picking time, my job was to place the different varieties we grew into little flat crates called cagettes, which we put into the cold cellar for winter storage–a centuries-old practice now mostly gone. What sweet and glorious aromas filled that cellar when I deposited all those baskets! (Tellingly, in French the word for smell, sentir, also means feel.) Today I recall the apple smell even more powerfully than the old footage of that autumn ritual I carry around in my head. And, of course, the harvest meant my mother would once again make an apple pie, une tarte aux pommes alsacienne.

In our garden we also had bushes of groseilles, tart red currants that are a regional specialty. My mother and I loved to make pies with these tiny berries. The season for red currants is short, and we quickly made jam (confiture) or jelly (gelée) or pies, and sometimes a sauce (coulis). And oh, how we looked forward to this once-a-year treat, which somehow exemplifies for me the French woman’s psychological pleasure in food. It is the anticipation and joy that we gain from a pleasure we cannot take for granted and know we will soon lose. Tasting such seasonal bounty heightens our awareness of what we put into our mouths and contrasts with routine, mindless eating that provides little pleasure and often unwanted pounds.

Leeks Mozzarella

Serves 4

2 pounds leeks, white parts only
1 cup fresh basil leaves
8 ounces mozzarella
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon wine or sherry vinegar
Salt (preferably freshly ground — fleur de sel works magic) and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Clean the leeks thoroughly, and boil in salted water 6 to 10 minutes, until cooked but still firm, then drain.

3. Put the leeks in a baking dish, and cover with a layer of basil leaves. Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch slices, and place atop the basil layer. Put the dish under the preheated broiler, and watch carefully. In 3 to 5 minutes the cheese should start to melt and brown; at this point, remove the dish.

4. Mix the oil and vinegar and drizzle over the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with a slice of country bread.

Mackerel with Carrots and Leeks

Serves 4

Mackerel, another salmon alternative, offers fine taste and excellent value. It reminds me of fresh tuna twenty years ago, when it was relatively cheap because few wanted it before the sashimi-sushi craze, when tuna became “toro” and the price went through the roof, leaving only lesser cuts for those of us not wielding a sushi knife. A mackerel mania may not be far off, so get with it while the getting is still good. The best fishing begins in May or June, and the season runs into fall. (Ditto for sardines.) A lovely Spanish lady who works at a Union Square Greenmarket fish booth gave me the following very simple preparation for this delicious, underappreciated fish.

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons minced shallots
Juice of 1 lemon
11/2 pounds mackerel fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Carrot-leek mixture from previous recipe

1. Make a marinade by combining 2 tablespoons of the oil with the rosemary, shallots, and lemon juice. Pour over the mackerel, and marinate 10 to 20 minutes.

2. Warm the remaining oil in a large skillet, and cook the mackerel over medium heat, about 3 minutes on each side.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste (be careful not to oversalt, as mackerel is already salty), and serve with the carrot-leek mixture.

Meet the Author

Mireille Guiliano, born and brought up in France, is an internationally best-selling author and a long-time spokesperson for Champagne Veuve Clicquot. For more than twenty years she was President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc. (LVMH). She is married to an American and lives most of the year in New York and France (Paris and Provence). Her favorite pastimes are breakfast, lunch and dinner. Her books have appeared in 37 languages.

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French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes and Pleasure 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
French Women for All Seasons was a very easy read, nice little stories to go along with the great recipies. It is a must read for those who have read French Women Don't Get Fat. I read it in an evening, and really enjoyed the touching stories of Mrs. Guiliano's father, mother, and grand parents. Just a fun little book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm enjoying this book and her first book French Women Don't Get Fat. I've enjoyed reading about her memories and the simple basics of eating the right food. The recipes are wonderful and very easy to prepare. I've always wanted to use more herbs in my cooking and have enjoyed the wonderful meals I've prepared since I purchased the books. I hope book number three will be coming soon.
Montgomere More than 1 year ago
French Women For All Seasons is a practical cookbook and lifebook for any one who wants to know what makes French women (and men) so thin and healthy. Most of the recipes use ingredients that are strange to us at first but thinking beyond negative to postive is what lies within the pages of this book. Having just returned from France, it was great to read this book and learn the tips on not only how to stay trim (eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables) but also how to shop and dress on a budget. Style and budget ideas not far-out Parisien runway but down home practical. I especially enjoyed learning the different ways there are to wear a simple scarf! This is one trick that has always eluded me and Ms. Guiliano gives clear and precise directions. Read this book or digest this book either way its great fun!
rans More than 1 year ago
I loved the first book but didn't realize the sequel would read as if it's simply trying to recapture the first! I put it down 3/4 the way through.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved the book. Not too heavy and had sprinkles of tasty tidbits throughout.
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Nice addition or refresher from her first book. More tips and secrets that us Americans could benefit from.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It is not like a diet book. It is more like an autobiography but pleasant and interesting. It has some receipes but not tons. I liked it as a reading book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mireille does it again - after reading 'French Women Never Get Fat' I was very curious what else she could provide to those of us wanting to drop some weight and change our life style. She really adds the little extras, in this book, that do matter - highly recommended for those who loved her first book. Both of her books are highly recommended for those looking for a new way to view food and lose weight.