French cuisine sounds exotic and exciting! I’d never thought much about it in the past – except maybe in the context of a fancy restaurant.
But I’ve been inspired by listening to Vision Forum’s Reformation of Food and Family Conference – and especially the talk by Chef Francis Foucachon on “What we can learn from the French about food. There are many areas where I would not want to emulate the French, but in the area of food – there is much to be emulated and learned from!
For starters: with French meals, the meal follows a four-course pattern:
- Vegetable starter
- Protein-rich main dish, with vegetable side (often lettuce salad to help with digestion)
- Dairy (usually yogurt or cheese)
- Dessert (usually fresh fruit, but I’ve included a recipe for a sweet treat below!)
Always on the table: water (no milk, juice, or soda); and plain, crusty, fresh baguette (not too many pieces! as you don’t want the kids to fill up on bread)
- serving vegetables first means that children are more likely to eat them (particularly if they haven’t snacked right before mealtime);
- serving smaller portions, in multiple courses, makes the meal last longer–which is an important strategy for self-regulating food consumption. Research shows that people tend to eat less if they eat more slowly, because the ‘satiety’ (fullness) signals take about 20 minutes to be transmitted from your stomach to your brain;
- multiple courses permit a diverse meal which is nutritionally complete (no filling up on pasta!)
- last, but not least, the French enjoy sitting at the table and eating. It’s a fun time for parents and children alike – and a time of great fellowship and family togetherness.