petite anglaise

November 11, 2004

Frog’s legs

Filed under: miam — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:00 am

It’s distressing when the Frog tries on my clothes, because he invariably looks better in them than I do.

A story in last weekend’s Observer amused me no end. The ‘French paradox’: how is it that French women are so slim despite putting away ‘as much ice-cream, rich pastries and steak frites as they want’.

Excuse me while I laugh so hard I eject hot tea out through my nostrils. I have never seen a French woman stuffing her face with fatty foods. Ever. When we go for dinner with French friends, I tend to be the only female who doesn’t order salad, the woman with no will power who caves in and orders dessert. Watching me with a mixture of jealousy and contempt as I scrape the last of the fondant au chocolat from my plate, the French girls take a long hard drag on their cigarettes.

My main problem (apart from not being a smoker) is that I may have lived here for many years now, but my tummy still thinks I’m just here on holiday and an evil little voice in my head tells me I really should try that exotic, foreign foie gras mi-cuit, or treat myself to a confit de canard while I’m here.

The thinnest French girls I know are covert adepts of what I call the ‘herbal tea method’. In every office I have worked in, there has been a girl who put on the kettle after lunch and then disappeared into the toilets for ten minutes or more, presumably to purge herself of the steamed broccoli she had just feasted on. Resurfacing, she would take her herbal mouthwash tea back to her desk wearing a smug expression. And tight white trousers which clung to her bottom-cheeks-which-had-never-met. Trousers which would never make a rubbing sound when she walked.

There is only one French person I know who does live out the French paradox without cheating: Mr Frog. With his aversion to all things vegetable, he gorges himself on a high sugar, high cholestorol, high carb combination of cheese, charcuterie, bread, fraises tagada and liquorice shoelaces and never puts on an ounce. The way he eats radishes is a thing to behold, each one carefully paired with a knob of butter as large as the radish itself and a liberal sprinkling of rock salt. Thereby cancelling out the merit of having eaten a healthy foodstuff. And he doesn’t even have high cholestorol – although it will catch up with him in the end if there is any justice in this world.

So when he puts on my Chinese dress and feather boa and dances to the Scissor Sisters I admit to feeling rather piqued at the injustice of the French paradox. And jealous of his shapely legs.

But I’m also thankful that there is no danger of him stretching my clothes out of shape.

As of tomorrow Tadpole and I will be back in the UK for a four day weekend of fish and chip eating and relatives cooing ‘ooh hasn’t she grown?’ Hopefully the latter will be in relation to Tadpole and not my hips.

The parents have some interference on their phone line and so not only is broadband down, even the museum piece dial up slow-mo(dem) is unavailable. Aarrghh! Cold turkey!

The Frog is therefore responsible for publishing Friday’s post. If it doesn’t materialise, I apologise, but computers don’t like him much. I just hope he doesn’t take it into his pretty little head to publish a post of his own…


  1. M Grenouille

    I feel that you should treat p a to a PDA so she can blog on the hoof. She’d get it cheap in the Duty Free. You know you want to.

    Comment by backroads — November 11, 2004 @ 12:37 am

  2. I don’t know what to say… I am horribly jealous that you own a frog who dances to the scissor sisters in a chinese dress! mine hasn’t even heard of the scissor sisters (nor, obviously, is he a frog). have lovely chips for me… with puke curry sauce on top! yumola. once a decade anyway.

    Comment by vitriolica — November 11, 2004 @ 2:05 am

  3. Whereas the Observer article was indeed amusing, demonstrating that cultural factors act as behaviour determinants it did neglect to address one of the crucial differences between British workplace culture and that which prevails elsewhere in Europe: office (and other) employees in the UK are expected to work longer hours (for lesser financial rewards) than their continental counterparts – snack food consumption encouraged by criminally short lunch breaks – scoffing calorie-laden sandwiches by the computer screen.

    Comment by Chameleon — November 11, 2004 @ 7:37 am

  4. Oh thank you for saying that p’tite! I couldn’t believe what I was reading either. Every French woman I met over there was completely fanatical about dieting! And there were plenty of overweight French women too, in my circle.

    My ex-Frog used to do that radish thing – except his was a little more elaborate – he would cut a cross into the top of the radish and insert thin slices of butter in the cross, then dip in salt. It was the most bizarre food ritual I’ve witnessed!

    Comment by witho — November 11, 2004 @ 2:30 pm

  5. For the radish ritual, yes, that how my parents taught me to eat these things “in a proper way”.
    We have plenty of fancy (and mostly puzzling) food rituals. Check how we’re supposed to eat “les ortolans”:

    Comment by Chninkel — November 11, 2004 @ 3:07 pm

  6. love the teapot!

    Comment by Cecile — November 11, 2004 @ 4:05 pm

  7. Thanks for that!
    In france I was chain smoking and thin. Extra thin. Because I DIDN’T EAT. that what we do, from the tender ager of 15 or 16. French girls chain smoke, they don’t eat.
    Now I’m in England. I have been there a few years. Now I’m proud to be a non-smoker, and the proud owner of a pair of rather large “hips”. Because here, nobody looks at me in a funny way if I have nan bread with my chicken korma….

    Comment by emilie [mimile] — November 11, 2004 @ 8:39 pm

  8. Pssst Mr Frog.

    The deal here is that you ‘forget’ or ‘mislay’ the post Petite gave you and write the whole lot, warts and all. Here’s your chance, she’s away for 4 days interweb-less and can do nothing about it until it’s too late.

    She’ll love you for it. And so will we.

    Have a good time Petite.

    Comment by Watski — November 11, 2004 @ 10:40 pm

  9. Frog – if you are reading this do not pay any heed to the likes of Watski. The connection is back up, Big Sister is watching you, and any maverick posting will result in a revocation of all bedroom privileges for two weeks.

    And I will burn the baaing sheep thong.

    mimile and chninkel – I tried to trackback to your posts on this subject but I cannot get that to work. Sorry!

    Comment by petite — November 11, 2004 @ 11:17 pm

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