Can Bacon be a Vegetable?

“Mwah!  Look at me, I am a big sausage!”  I am walking through the room dramatically, landing hard on each of my feet.  “Watch out, my fat sausage tread might bring the house down!”

“Quoi?”  MB is amused but not sure why.

“What do you mean “quoi”,” I ask.  “I’m a sausage person…obviously.

“I don’t know what this is, a “sausage person”.”

“It’s a fatty, it’s a big fat fatty which is what I have become.  Do you see this?”  I lift one of my legs.  “My jeans are so tight that my thighs look like encased sausages.”

“You are ridiculous.”

“Really, first trimester?”  I raise an eyebrow at the little belly that MB has developed.

His jaw drops in mock horror.

WHAT?! There is a salad on the plate...

Don’t judge – there is a salad on the plate…

“Dude, I’m just sayin’, we gotta go on a diet.”

For the first four months of the year, MB and I had eight visitors stay with us.  While this was a whole lot of fun it also means that we did a whole lot of eating.  For each new visitor we had particular cheeses, restaurants, or regional specialties for them to try, and in effect, for us to try.  Normally, MB and I go out to dinner once a week; but with the onslaught of visitors, we were having “special occasion” meals almost every single night.  There is no amount of exercise that can burn off daily three-course dinners so naturally, he and I both put on a few pounds.  At first it wasn’t so bad, the clothes were a little tight, MB started to get a wee belly but after month three things had gotten out of hand.  I was starting to have trouble figuring out where my chin ended and my neck began.  So, for the past month, MB and I have been dieting which has been an interesting experience.

No more of this!

Dieting in France is both easy and complicated.

On the one hand, it was easy to cut massive amounts of fat out of our diet by doing things like not having foie gras and duck confit every day (crazy, I know, but it works).  On the other hand, deciding that you are going to diet in France and try to avoid high fat cuisine basically means that you are eating at home.  At the French restaurants in our town there are almost no low-fat options.  You want a salad?  That is great, it will come with lardons, goat cheese, possibly an egg (or my favorite salad which comes with magret canard, gesiers, and foie gras).  You want to get the fish?  Excellent, monsieur.  That will be accompanied with a cream sauce.

I remember one of our visitors telling me that she just wanted to have a light meal at the restaurant that evening.  She decided to take the salmon…which came with a cream sauce.

“That’s okay,” she said.  “I will just have the vegetable side dish.”

She asked the waiter what the vegetable option was.  It was potatoes Sardalaise.  That would be, potatoes cooked in garlic and duck fat.  Enjoy your “light” dinner.

Note the category of “legumes” on the left-hand bottom.

So basically, in France, I think it has to be all or nothing.  If you want to diet, or go on a “régime” (even the French word for diet sounds malevolent) then you better make your own food at home because you are not going to find diet food at a restaurant.  Although, note that even at home you must be vigilant. In one of MB’s French cookbooks pasta carbonara is listed under “legumes” (vegetables).  I mean, come on!  So, at the end of the day, dieting in France takes a huge amount of self-control, a lot of dinners at home, and not believing the cookbooks when they tell you that a crème fraîche and bacon salad is a vegetable.

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11 Responses to Can Bacon be a Vegetable?

  1. You’re very right about the vegetables in France. When I first started losing my 20 kilos, that I had slowly gained over a period of 13 years, I had a difficult time in restaurants. It’s easier in Paris of course where women are more weight-conscious. I can remember walking out of an Italian restaurant in the Loire Valley because all they could offer were green beans. However, we found a slightly more expensive place down the road where they served excellent vegetables – without a cream sauce. You might like to read some of my tips on how I lost all that weight …

    • breadispain says:

      I definitely will check out your info! I think Provence is a good area for more veggie and light dishes…I’m just smack in the middle of one of the cheesiest regions! 🙂

  2. Theresa says:

    Do you KNOW how hungry you’ve just made me?!

  3. Pingback: Can Bacon be a Vegetable? – Free Walking Tours given by Parisian Volunteers – Sipping on Saturday | Aussie in France

  4. Sara Louise says:

    Bacon is everything.
    And ugh, I’ve put on so much weight since living here! It’s so freaking hard! I need to strap myself to a treadmill!

    • breadispain says:

      I feel your pain! No joke it really is all or nothing, I’ve been eating all veg this week in prep for Paris over the weekend because once I’m at a restaurant…forget about it! (if you are looking for a hardcore workout try Insanity by Beachbody…it is super intense)

  5. Liene says:

    Chickster sent me. I sympathize, but on the other hand please don’t try to convince me that bacon does not belong with vegetables. Lardons are on my top 10 list of things I like about France, and cream sauces have revolutionized my cooking. But I figure I’m already married, so bring on the sausage person!

    • breadispain says:

      HA – yes, being engaged has definitely made me more slack and my cream and lardon intake. It is so sad..even with the diet I can’t quite quit them. This cookbook would have cracked you up – seriously, macaroni and cheese under vegetables. Thanks for checking out the site!

  6. John Ryder says:

    Of course bacon is a vegetable– it is a member of ALL food groups–like the blank tile in scrabble

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