Guest Post: How to Outsmart Your French Boyfriend’s Family

Guest Post: How to Outsmart Your French Boyfriend’s Family

As promised, Mimi from French Kitchen in America is here today to give you a few tips on tomatoes and salads. Which, if you have read Blame It on Paris, you will know why that’s important. Plus, with all the chocolate and crêpes, I thought we could stand a light and refreshing bite today.


(If you want to know more about this basket, Mimi gives some more details on her own site today. And without further ado, I’m going to pass the blog today to Mimi.)

How to Outsmart Your French Boyfriend’s Family

You can’t write a book about falling in love with a Frenchman without writing about food, can you?

I love to read about France and I love to read about food.

Unfortunately, I can gain weight from reading about food. So I was very pleased that most of the food that finds its way into Laura Florand’s charming (and funny) “Blame it on Paris” is of the type that doesn’t usually lead to excess weight gain.

Salads, for example, and tomatoes. Unless you pile on croutons and dressing you generally don’t gain weight just eating salads. As for tomatoes, I have this theory that they actually help you lose weight. I think they speed up your metabolism and negate the high carbohydrate qualities of baguettes. (I am sure I read this somewhere.) I always eat my baguette with a tomato. Cancels out the carbs.

(Escargots make an appearance, too. They have to: They are what we Americans associate most with Paris, right? I mean besides the Eiffel Tour, Jim Morrison’s grave and being seduced by a French man.)

Now, I’m not going to give away anything about Laura’s book because I want you to read it. You will like the people in it, I promise.

Once you read “Blame it on Paris,” you will never look at tossing salads and cutting tomatoes in the same old way again. (Unless, like me, you are already married to someone who is only French when he gets behind the wheel of a car.)

How you toss a salad and cut a tomato could have an impact on the rest of your life. Or at least your love life, according to Laura’s French in-laws, anyway.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the French family you marry into (and every girl fantasizes about nabbing a Frenchman, right?) subscribes to the same ideas as Sébastien’s. If that is the case, how you toss a salad will crucial.

How you cut tomatoes will be important, too.

For the sake of romantic Francophile women everywhere, I have outsmarted the system.

My Salade de Soleil requires arranging, not tossing. And if you use grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half, you won’t have to worry about how you cut or how big you cut. Just — as they say — “eyeball it.”

(Cherry tomatoes are especially useful for use in kebobs, too, I might add. As I said, you’ve got to read the book to understand why this is critically important.)

Salade de Soleil for Two

12-14 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon basil

3 cup cubed Provolone, Feta and Parmesan cheeses

Dash coarse sea salt

Dash herbes de Provence

One tablespoon olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Arrange (do not toss) tomatoes on two small plates or shallow bowls. Sprinkle minced or torn basil and cheese on top. Drizzle with olive oil (or your favorite vinaigrette) and sprinkle with salt and herbes.

Mimi Salad

For more recipes, including some very romantic recipes during the month of February, please visit me at French Kitchen in America.

  • Very clever about the tomatoes, Mimi. I feel that if you had been in my shoes, things would NOT have gone down in the same way. You might even have been a match for my in-laws.

    Plus, this is a nice variant on one of my favorite basics: fresh tomatoes from the market, fresh mozzarella or a certain kind of Israeli sheep feta our Whole Foods carries, basil, olive oil, and sea salt. It all depends on the quality of the tomatoes, but like so many of the recipes I learned in France, it’s one of those that proves if your basic ingredients are excellent you can keep it really simple and still eat very well. A lot of your recipes seem like that, too, on your site–one of the reasons I like to try them!

    February 6, 2007 at 7:57 am
  • Oh, that looks heavenly! Thanks, Mimi. Yes, this looks like a nice alternative to the Italian tomato, basil, and mozzarella combo. Although, I will have to dirty up the recipe and eliminate/substitute the Feta – I just can’t handle the stuff. I was just about to make my menu for next week, so I’m heading over to your site right now for some ideas. Happy eating, everyone!

    February 6, 2007 at 9:25 am
  • I must admit, I am hooked on this simple little combination of tastes.

    Love feta, Laura. Oh, that sounds so good!

    Yes, I have learned to get the basics down and start slowly with cooking.

    Although, my chateaubriand is pretty darned good, I must (modestly) admit.

    Wish I could get my pix so big, Laura.

    Thanks, Michelle. I’m off to work, but will visit your site later!

    February 6, 2007 at 9:53 am
  • Mimi,
    My oldest girl child LOVES tomatoes, so this is going in our “as soon as fresh ones are in season, we’ll try this” file. It looks amazing!
    I checked out your blog and everything over there looks really good. I like simpler recipes, because I just don’t have as much time in the kitchen as I’d like. Plus, with something simpler, I can make it once then SHOW the oldest, and she masters it. I may even have to point her to YOUR site, because I’m hoping that she’ll notice this – “Fricassee of Chicken with White Wine, Capers and Olives”. It looks simply delicious!
    You’re now bookmarked, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

    February 6, 2007 at 10:20 am
  • I am loving all this wonderful conversation about tomaotes-Anything Mimi whips up is sure to tickle your taste buds, plus, she is an incredible writer! you are absolutely accurate on the freshness of the incredients and their simplicity-works every time! Enjoyed your sight and anxious to read this great book!!

    February 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm
  • Thanks, Jann and Dee.

    (I had to pop over and see how my tomatoes were doing.)

    February 6, 2007 at 8:02 pm
  • Yes, lots of good recipes over there! I tried the Chestnut Tagliatelle the other day. (Except, I used regular tagliatelle because I have no idea where to get chestnut tagliatelle.) Very easy and delicious!

    February 6, 2007 at 8:15 pm

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