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French Kids Eat Everything


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About the Author

Karen Bakker Le Billon is a professor at the University of British Columbia, and was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2011. A Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. from Oxford, she has published five academic books and Getting To Yum, a guide and cookbook on taste training for kids. She and her family divide their time between Canada and France. Her website was named a Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Blog of the Month.


"It takes a brave couple to move two picky-eater kids into a French small town and convert them to foodie omnivores. We have much to learn from European food traditions, and the contrast between French and North American school lunches is a striking example. A must-read for teachers and parents."--Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat
"Le Billon . . . strategically identified questions she faced while living abroad: Why were French kids tidier eaters? Why did they sit quietly at restaurants? Why did her daughter's teacher suggest she see a therapist when she wanted to pack her school lunch?"
"A breezy but practical volume for hurried parents looking to keep their kids well-fed. . . . [The] tone is straightforward, generous, and gentle. That Le Billon concludes with a small collection of kid-friendly recipes makes this foodie manifesto all the more accessible."--Publishers Weekly
"This book is not only about how to teach children (and yourself) to eat well and happily for life, it's a book about how to help build and maintain the foundations of any civilized society. I loved it. Essential reading, whether you have children or not."--Laura Calder, author of Dinner Chez Moi and host of French Food at Home
"A wonderful--and important--book. One family's topsy-turvy culinary transformation becomes an in-depth exploration of the habits that have kept French kids loving food (and eating spinach) for centuries."--Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris
"A fascinating and valuable read."--Lynne Rossetto Kasper
"Humorous as well as instructive, this culinary adventure will change the lives of parents and children alike. . . . Karen Le Billon and her children learn that it's okay to feel hungry between meals, turn to mindful eating, and learn the importance of enjoying one's food."--Patricia Wells, author of The Provence Cookbook
"Portrays the stark contrast between French foodways-- valuing communal meals, diverse foods and good taste-- and Americans' round-the-clock snacking and narrow, market-driven tastes...We now have the occasional course that lets us glimpse the soul nourishment that marks the French approach to food."--Portland Press Herald

More than 50 years ago, families ate meals together at the table on a regular schedule, children weren't served separate meals, and snacking between meals wasn't rampant. When food advocate Le Billon (environment & sustainability, Univ. of British Columbia) moved her half-Canadian, half-French family to France, she was surprised to find out that this is how the French still live. Quickly acknowledging that her child-centered method of parenting has spawned two picky eaters, she embarked on a yearlong food experiment to analyze the French culture of parenting and food and devised ten French "food rules." In her view, French parents are stricter, more demanding, and less indulgent than North American parents and, as a result, she concludes, French children have more self-control at the table and eat what is served to them. After a year of food-related misunderstandings, arguments, gaffes, and faux pas, the family moved back to Canada, where Le Billon unsuccessfully tried to institute the French food rules at her daughter's school. -VERDICT By the end, Le Billon's obsession with French food culture and French children who obediently enjoy eating everything they are served becomes both annoying and exhausting. Parents looking to experiment with diet changes may wish to focus on the last chapter, which summarizes Le Billon's rules.-Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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