Here are my somewhat random thoughts because I'm still sorting out the effects of the book. It's basically the food/eating rules the French use, codified by a Canadian mother (Karen Le Billon) when she and her French husband took their children to live in France for a year.
1. "Taste training" is a brilliant way to sum up what I'm trying to do with my kids. In fact, it applies to more than just food. I want to educate them on good taste which, admittedly, is far more subjective than it used to be. I don't automatically think it's cute when they wear mismatched clothes or want to put ketchup on everything; I'm not rigid about it, but I do want to teach my children what goes together and why. My husband, you should know, thinks this is a little too detailed. I'm sure our parenting balances out!
2. I do agree with the French philosophy of no snacks, in sharp contrast to the multiple small meals many American nutritionists recommend. I had already cut back on giving the kids snacks because I was lazy, but now I realize it is making them much hungrier at meals, which are more balanced than snacks. "Hunger is the best sauce," you know.
3. I do wish I lived in France. I think. I'm not usually a Francophile, but so many of the ways I appreciate life match up to what people say goes on in France. I've only been in France for a few days, but I did live in Germany for a bit and spent 3 weeks in Switzerland.
4. I love how calmly French people assume that children will learn to like all foods if they are exposed often enough. I had already noticed that my children's favorite vegetable or fruit changes within minutes, so I don't pay much attention.
5. We were getting terribly casual about table manners and eating together. This book gives me impetus to get it together again.
6. But holy cow, I can't picture eating every meal at a table with a tablecloth with other people. I'm American enough to like a quick sandwich sometimes, or to read while I eat alone. I appreciate food and I am usually very deliberate about pairing dishes and making it look nice, even leftovers, but I have other things I want to do besides eat!
7. I find the picky eaters in this book tiresome. I like Karen Le Billon for wanting to change her kids' eating habits, but I am annoyed and appalled at her spineless parenting.
8. And the Le Billon family's eating habits just about fall apart when they return to Canada. This revs up my anxiety about my kids in school with the food issue - how will their home training stand up to the cold, bad world?
I managed to renew the book for another 2 weeks and asked my husband to read it. I'm still pondering things - I'll let you know if I have further thoughts. And I welcome your thoughts!