Note to Self: NO MORE NOVELS ABOUT FRANCE UNTIL YOU LOSE 20 POUNDS

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Oh, Food. I love you, but you doth vex me.

I’m no different from most of us in that I think food is fabulous, and I partake at every opportunity. Well, not quite that often, but at least every other opportunity. Anyway, however often it is I eat, I do it enough that I’ve put on quite a bit of extra weight over the past five years; in my case, it’s not healthy. I’m just now beginning to lose this weight. It’s not just a matter of food as a slowed-down, middle-aged metabolism doesn’t help. Still, there’s nothing wrong with me that exercise and a smarter eating plan won’t fix.

For me, food is a cruel master. I don’t even think all that much about food, but then, I can’t get it off my mind for some reason. I had an especially weird experience along these lines in February, when my book club was reading “The Nightingale,” a novel about the German occupation of France during World War II.

The story centers around two French sisters with fundamental differences on how to cope during war. Neither of them copes by eating, but one of them, a young mother, is chiefly in charge of the household while her husband is at war. There are scenes peppered throughout the book where she is cooking. Now, see what I mean? Maybe “scattered” is a better word than “peppered.” Anyway, there are lots of scenes where this character prepares the household meals, and they sound so tantalizing.

For instance, in one scene, she prepares what the author describes as “a creamy potato and lardon soup.” I didn’t even know what lardon meant, but because it was French and the words “creamy” and “potato” were in there, I wanted it. I then discovered lardon is essentially pork fat. I was mildly put off by this at first but only for a second, until I remembered what a comic once said, “Fat … tastes … GOOD!”

While I was reading that book, my grocery lists looked like they’d been written by a Francophile in a six-week culinary arts program. But it didn’t take me long to run the course of French meals I could make easily, so within a month my kids were groaning, “What? Quiche again?” I especially like quiche because the most complicated thing on the ingredients list is half and half.

I’m coming to the conclusion that the less I think, the easier it will be to lose weight. Thinking less and reading fewer novels about France are probably the route to go. Exercising, eating sensibly and drinking lots of water is also probably the route to go.

Actually, I’m tempted to just bag it. In France, I think they’d pronounce that “baguette.”

I’m hungry.


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