I recently finished a book that I think was called The Julie & Julia Project. (If I am incorrect about the title, anyone who knows is free to correct me.) It's about a woman who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She starts at one end of the book and goes to the other, cooking every recipe in it. No skips, no substitutions. And in a year, her goal was to finish the book.
My initial response as I started reading it was the same as my mother's when I told her what I was reading: "She'll be a pig!" I mean, really. French cuisine is to die for, but it's incredibly rich (that would be why it's so good). Cream, butter, eggs, cholesterol -- if it's fattening, chances are it's in French food. If I were to cook my way through one of Julia Child's cookbooks (not that I would, because I have neither the patience nor the time to try many of the recipes, but assuming I did), by the end of the project, I would have gained about twenty-five pounds.
But then I got to thinking. If eating so much French food makes you fat, how come there aren't a whole lot of des cochons running around France? I've been in France enough times to know that not everyone is fat, or even overweight. In fact, (now, granted, I don't know the exact statistic here), I would be willing to bet that there are proportionately less overweight people in France than there are over here on our side of the pond.
So what is it about the French? How come they're capable of eating (and cooking) all these decadent, sinfully good foods and still stay healthy? How is it they are able to refrain from turning into des cochons and we aren't?