I happened to catch an interesting interview on Global T.V. this morning about a Vancouver woman named ‘Karen Le Billon’ who’d relocated to France with her husband and kids. Karen and her small family spent a year there in a small village where her husband grew up in the northern part of Western France.
She noticed quickly the difference the way French parents were rearing their children from the way North American families do. What surprised her the most was the way French children ate. French children were not picky, fussy or difficult eaters. In fact, French children began eating the way adults do, from the very young time they began to consume solid foods.
She commented that even at school, the cafeteria was not called ‘ cafeteria’ but school ‘restaurant.’ The children were fed with chef inspired and cooked meals that would be comparable to any 4 star restaurant here in Vancouver. Every meal was different and none were repeated. The children were never allowed to snack between meals.
My own close friend Jean Francois and his wife Helene who live in Paris have two little boys, Louis and Constant. Louis is now 3 and the way that little boy has been eating surprised even me from the time I could remember him beginning to walk.
During our evening visits to Jeff and Helenes, little 2 yr old Louis would come to the coffee table and join us eating hors d ouvres like Oysters on the Half Shell, bulots ( tiny snail like crustaceans ), pate de fois gras, Mussels, etc. Never grabby or rude, Louis always asks his father for permission before taking anything!!
His proud father would remark “my son is a gourmand from a very young age.”
I would always comment that’s only to be expected seeing that he’s named after the Kings of France. Jean Francois always beams at that comment! (To be honest, I always feel like were dining like King’s of France when I’m at Jean and Helenes.)
In any event, Ms. Le Billon has written a book ‘French Kids Eat Everything’ and while I have not read it, I think it’s worth a read. Particularly for those who have children that are difficult and picky eaters. ( hmmm…..that would include just about everybody I know with kids here in Vancouver )
Note* (Ms. Le Billon commented that French children are taught table and how to be quiet and polite during dinner.)
Please click on the link below to see where to buy the book.