Monday, November 8, 2010

A Parisian life

I made an omelette for Walter for his breakfast yesterday and he was flabbergasted that I can cook. It's not unreasonable; up until just a few months ago I ate out or bought 90% of my meals from convenience stores like a Japanese bachelor.

Now that I'm cooking and packing my own lunches for work, life feels different. I don't make anything too gourmet or complicated since my love of eating is equally rivaled to my disdain for cleaning up. But coming home and seeing the fridge full of vegetables, tofu, eggs and yogurt reminds me that I am far more in control of things than I used to be. My simple concoctions are healthy and I know exactly what goes into them. I try to buy groceries from the nice little old ladies on the corner instead of at the gigantic corporate Wal-Mart clone.

Paris is a famously thin city. Factoring out heavyset tourists, it is rare to see French women bigger than a size 8 in any given street scene. It is normal to buy your groceries in smaller quantities several times a week and to walk everywhere since public transit is good. People complain that the French must be superhuman in order to eat all that bread and croissants and raclette and duck confit without getting fat. A diet book, "French Women Don't Get Fat," became an overnight sensation in obesity-ridden America. A study comparing fullness signifiers was conducted in Chicago and Paris. Chicagoans said they were full when their plates were empty or when their TV shows were done, and Parisians said they were full when their stomachs felt full.

I am working on the last bit. I still have issues with leaving food on a plate since for whatever reason I feel like "wasting food" by throwing it in the garbage is worse than putting it in my body even if I'm already full. But other than that, I think I have almost successfully achieved what some people would call a Parisian life. I walk everywhere: to work, to the train station, to the supermarket. I buy groceries for 2-3 days at a time instead of trying to load up for a whole week in one go. Produce is always fresh, never canned. I cook in single servings because I don't trust myself not to peck at leftovers once one plate is finished.

And I am sincerely worried that I won't be able to maintain this lifestyle when I move back to the U.S. in the summer.


The easiest thing ever...

-Spinach (any amount will do - the more the merrier)
-8-12 shiitake mushrooms
-Some sort of cheese - I use individually wrapped Camembert
-Soy sauce

1.) Boil the spinach and sautee the shiitake mushrooms in soy sauce in a pan.
2.) Cut spinach into sections of 2-3 inches.
3.) Cut cheese into tiny cubes.
4.) Throw it all in a bowl and sprinkle garlic on top.
5.) Eat with a fork.


  1. Krampus, are u originally from the U.S.??
    When I was there last year it was like falling into sugar heaven :) and yes, Parisian girls are definitely really really thin. It was kind of frustrating to see them everywhere.

  2. Yeah, I'm an American teaching English in Japan. From upstate New York (NOT NYC! ^_^).

    Paris is GREAT for candy and desserts and bakeries. It is really weird how thin Parisian girls are. I think I would weigh 500 kg if I lived within walking distance of all that sugar.

  3. How lovely. I just fell in love with the East coast and its Indian summer and you're staying in Japan, which is kind of my little tododream for the next years. when you're going back???

  4. August 2011...too soon! :(

    Have you traveled a lot in the U.S.?


What's up?