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Book online «French Kids Eat Everything Karen Billon (romance novel chinese novels txt) 📖». Author Karen Billon

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Illustrations by Sarah Jane Wright


To Philippe



Title Page



1 French Kids Eat Everything (and Yours Can Too)

2 Baby Steps and Beet Puree: We Move to France, and Encounter Unidentified Edible Objects

3 Schooling the Stomach: We Start Learning to “Eat French” (the Hard Way)

4 L’art de la table: A Meal with Friends, and a Friendly Argument

5 Food Fights: How Not to Get Your Kids to Eat Everything

6 The Kohlrabi Experiment: Learning to Love New Foods

7 Four Square Meals a Day: Why French Kids Don’t Snack

8 Slow Food Nation: It’s Not Only What You Eat, It’s Also How You Eat

9 The Best of Both Worlds

10 The Most Important Food Rule of All

Tips and Tricks, Rules and Routines for Happy, Healthy Eaters

French Recipes for Kids: Fast, Simple, Healthy, and Tasty

List of Recipes

Soups and Purees

Salads and Main Courses

Snacks and Desserts





About the Author

Other Works



About the Publisher


This book is a very personal story about our family. But it also addresses issues that affect all of our children. Because of poor eating habits, the current generation of North American children will suffer far more health problems—and perhaps have a shorter life expectancy—than their parents. We may be training our kids to eat themselves into an early grave.

It’s hard to change the way our families eat. Although we know what we should be eating—more fruits and vegetables and as little processed food as possible—we don’t do it. Or, even if we prepare healthy food, our children often won’t eat it. Food insecurity (unaffordability, lack of access) is a serious issue, but even families with adequate resources don’t always eat as healthily as they should. So we need to figure out better strategies for how as well as what to feed our kids. This is where the French approach to food education offers valuable lessons. Living in France taught our family that children can eat well and enjoy it too. The healthy eating habits, smart routines, and tasty recipes used by French families and schools were the basis of our family’s reinvention of our approach to eating. They inspired us, and my hope is that our story will inspire you too.

But this is not solely a question of parental responsibility or personal behavior. In France, schools, governments, and communities have worked together to create food and education systems that support parents in feeding their children well. In North America, it often seems as if the opposite is true. So we urgently need to have a collective conversation about how to reinvent kids’ food culture—in homes and schools, on farms and in stores via market and governmental reform. My hope is that this story (which is not about haute cuisine, but rather about how ordinary French families are empowered to feed their children well) will inspire you to join in that conversation.


French Kids Eat Everything (and Yours Can Too)

Le plaisir de la table est de tous les âges, de toutes les conditions, de tous les pays et de tous les jours.

The pleasures of the table belong to all ages, all conditions, all countries, and to each and every day.

—Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1826)

Ask my children what their favorite foods are, and the answer might surprise you. Seven-year-old Sophie loves beets and broccoli, leeks and lettuce, mussels and mackerel—in addition to the usual suspects, like hot dogs, pizza, and ice cream. Claire, her three-year-old sister, loves olives and red peppers, although her all-time favorite is creamed spinach. Living as we do in Vancouver, where the world’s largest salmon-spawning river flows through one of the continent’s largest Chinatowns, our daughters also happen to love seaweed, smoked salmon and avocado sushi.

Our daughters’ enthusiastic eating habits are no surprise to my French husband, Philippe. But they still surprise me, because food fights used to be frequent at our house. Before our family moved to France and embarked on our (unintended) experiment with French food education, dinnertime was parenting purgatory. Fries were my daughters’ favorite “vegetable.” Anything green was met with clenched teeth. Whining stopped only when dessert appeared. Our daughters subsisted on the carbohydrate and dairy-rich diet that is the mainstay of North American families. Our standbys were Cheerios, pasta, and buttered toast. We considered goldfish crackers to be a separate food group.

Sophie was a picky eater right from the start. By the time she was three, she had developed a fear of new foods that reminded me a lot of myself as a child. Anything objectionable on her plate would trigger her little “crazy food dance” (as we called it): arms waving, eyes rolling, Sophie would whine, sometimes yell, and even jump up from the table to avoid being confronted with the fearsome food in question. Her somewhat quirky tastes didn’t make it easy to avoid setting off this behavior. For example, Sophie didn’t like vegetables, or anything white or creamy: cheese, yogurt, any sauce of any description, or even ice cream. And she refused to eat things that most other children like, including macaroni and cheese, and sandwiches of any kind.

In contrast, Claire—her younger sister—was our little Buddha baby, calm and contented. You’ve won the lottery, our midwife told us on the day she was born. While Sophie specialized in twenty-minute naps (but only while being walked in the stroller or snuggled in the baby carrier), Claire would enjoy lazy two-hour siestas and still sleep for a blissful ten hours at night. And she ate almost anything. That is, she would eat almost anything until she started behaving like her older sister. This gave me a serious case of parental performance anxiety, combined with a good measure of guilt.

You see, my husband’s friends, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other sundry and assorted relatives all expected our daughters to eat like French children. And French kids eat everything, from fruit salad to

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