Maybe your next trip to Paris isn’t just around the corner—but your heart and appetite have taken up permanent residence here. In that case, you will definitely want The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, recently published by Atria Books. This is the latest offering from Mireille Guiliano, everyone’s favorite expert Frenchwoman. As we might expect, the former CEO of Veuve Clicquot turned best-selling author (French Women Don’t Get Fat; French Women for All Seasons; Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire) has come out with a cookbook that couldn’t have been written by anybody else.
As she told GG2P, “My mother always used to tell me, ‘Never be afraid of risks. What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ That became my motto for life, and it continues to shape how I think. So, although my aim is to bridge cultures and to help women, the way I write remains frankly French—and, I am proud to say, feminine.”
Like her other works, Guiliano says, the cookbook was shaped by her upbringing and work experience. “Cookbooks usually organize themselves by theme or by ingredients. You know, ‘Here are my fish recipes, here is what you can do with eggs.’ I read cookbooks like I read novels, but that style just isn’t me.” Instead, she presents her personal tips, reminiscences and suggestions loosely organized around “my three favorite pastimes—breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Stuffed with stovetop secrets from her French relatives, friends and champagne-business cohorts, the book meanders freely and happily. Along the way, it takes in everything from brunches to memories, market stalls to formal cosmopolitan dinners. It also boasts more than a soupçon of female persuasion as Guiliano seeks to convince us why (and how) we should trade our cupcakes for chocolate mousse and swap our Diet Cokes for champagne.
The project came about after years of requests from fans. As a result, readers will find many more of the easy, quick and healthy recipes that contribute to all the French Women books. Guiliano wanted it to be “polycultural,” she says, “because I’ve spent my working life between Paris, Manhattan and Provence and I now have wonderful online friends all over the globe. So, while the flavors and the tips in my book remain French, as always, they should be able to fit into different lives.”
Cooking, she maintains, “is above all an act of love. However, it also vindicates our intellects and abilities. Cooking holistically is every bit as challenging as what I handled as a CEO. It’s a world that should be open to any—no, every—woman.”
Editor’s note: Please join us for a live Twitter chat with Mireille Guiliano this Wednesday, May 19, from noon to 2 p.m. EST.