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Friday, May 14, 2010

Interview with Mireille Guiliano…and a giveaway for “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook”!

This giveaway is now closed. However there is a really fun interview with Mireille Guiliano in this post, so keep reading!

mireille guiliano headshot smallerTwo weeks ago I had the chance to do a phone interview with Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don’t Get Fat and The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, among many other books. Mireille is a lovely person with lovely books and I was so excited for the opportunity. Not surprisingly, we had a lovely conversation! I wish you could have all had a chance to chat with her. She was friendly, sincere, kind and gracious. I’m pretty much in love and ready to do anything she tells me to do. Eat my veggies? Done!

french women don't get fat cookbook web

In conjunction with the interview, we are giving away two copies of Mireille’s new cookbook, The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. Simply leave a comment on this post to enter. The book is beautiful and full of wonderful stories and recipes. Comments must be posted by Midnight, Wednesday, May 19. Two winners will be randomly selected and announced on May 20. (U.S. mailing addresses only, please.)

On to the interview with Mireille Guiliano! (In case you’re wondering, her first name is pronounced Meer-ray, with that great French “R” sound. By the way, talking with Mireille made me want to jump on the next plance to France!)

Jane: I tend to get into a rut with certain vegetables. I’m excited about your cookbook because so many of the recipes incorporate vegetables that I don’t normally cook with. What are your most favorite vegetables to cook with and or favorite vegetable-based recipe?

First off, Mireille said if you’re anywhere near NYC, you must go to the Union Square Market. If you are one of those lucky people, think of me when you go! Mireille loves vegetables of all kinds (especially leeks!). One of her favorite vegetable dishes involves steaming fava beans, asparagus, peas, carrots and 3 potatoes sliced on a bias. Simply place the hardest vegetables at the bottom and steam until done. Sometimes she throws in ginger and shallots, and of course you can use whatever vegetables tickle your fancy. Serve in a souffle dish tossed with salt, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil and fresh herbs of your choice. Sometimes she adds a poached egg or a bit of meat. She said this dish is always a big hit and very simple to make.

Jane: I generally do my grocery shopping based on a menu plan, so I end up only buying ingredients for specific meals. As I have read your books it seems to me that your approach is quite different. Do you do your grocery shopping with specific dishes in mind, or do you shop for ingredients and then build meals from them?

Mireille said she does the opposite of what I do! She likes to go to the market and see what they have and then create meals based on the ingredients she’s purchased. She uses a very creative approach to cooking, shopping and cooking with confidence (if you don’t have that confidence, just keep practicing!). She said that she does not take herself seriously as a cook, and her recipes are frequently changing and evolving.

Jane: Do you think that the French diet is being irrevocably ruined by McDonalds and the encroachment of the fast food culture and an American way of eating?

Mireille said she has high hopes that this will never happen. She believes that the global world will not impact 300+ years of French gastronomic culture. She talked about about how the French government pays for health and takes proactive action. The French school cafeterias have amazing food and the schools tell the parents how to feed their children. France is a small country with regions and farms, so Mireille thinks that will continue to influence the way people eat. I asked her if she had hope for the United States. She said that years ago she thought we had reached bottom, but now it’s worse! But she is an optimist and believes education is key.

Jane: Health food experts often say you should eat 6 small meals throughout the day. Your approach definitely focuses on three meals per day, including eating all food moderately. Why is focusing on three meals a day a better approach than the multiple mini-meal approach?

Mireille said she has thought about this a lot and has been asked this question before. With the exception of those who need to eat frequent small meals for health reasons, she believes most people should really focus on 3 meals per day. Those struggling with obesity may find the frequent small meals helpful as a temporary solution, but we should all be shooting for the 3 meal goal. Mireille believes 6 meals is just too complicated in our already complicated lives, and that this approach generally just leads to overeating. She believes we do not need 6 meals per day in our generally sedentary lives…if you think you need a snack, drink water!  As long as your meals are healthy and balanced, you will be getting all that you need in the day.

Jane: I love your section about men and husbands near the end of your cookbook. As I’ve embarked on my journey to eat less meat, most comments from readers have been that their husbands would never do it. Any tips for getting men and husbands on board with eating healthier?

Mireille’s advice was to be a great diplomat and make the transition SLOW. She also said to trick the husbands! Mireille believes there are ways to incorporate a healthier way of eating without “making a scene.” She talked about how when she got married her husband said he hated fish. Fish is one of Mireille’s favorite foods, so she was a little worried! When she saw how her mother-in-law cooked fish, however, she could see why her husband hated it! So, she eased him into eating fish. First she started cooking fish with cream sauces, then cooking in white wine, then finally grilling. She said it took no time at all to convert him and now he says he’s always loved fish, and she doesn’t remind him of his old ways!

Mireille said not to be pushy or aggressive, and do not use guilt as a tool. There are plenty of ways to change habits, do what works best and take your time!

Jane: You are a very successful business woman who seems to maintain a good work-life balance. What is your number one tip for not letting work life and busy-ness that many women experience on a day-to-day basis get in the way of being able to focus on and enjoy the pleasures of life?

Mireille used to take a walk every morning to keep things balanced, but her true love now is yoga and breathing, which she does to start each day. She took classes for years, but when her teacher moved she started to practice yoga on her own and loves it.

Jane: My last question might be impossible to answer, but I have to ask it anyway. What is your most favorite food in the world?

Mireille said, “My favorite food in the world? I love it all!” She did fess up that dark chocolate is one of her favorites. Sadly her favorite chocolatier, Joel Durand, is in Provence and doesn’t ship internationally! (I guess I need to go to Provence!) She talked about how her favorite foods are high quality, like a perfectly ripe apricot straight from the tree. She also said that good bread or croissant is certainly not something to spit on! Amen to that! 🙂

A warm thank you to Mireille for spending some time with me on the phone – it was a joy!


  1. 1

    i borrowed this book from my grandmother once and I really liked it, having copy of my own would be great!

  2. Would love to check this book out. I have heard great things and need a new read!

  3. 3

    I’ve read the book and attended a lecture by Mireille. Love the book and her. Great post, thanks!

  4. 4

    i understand this is a very interesting cookbook i would love to own it

  5. 5

    Great interview Jane!

  6. 6

    The book does sound lovely! I have high hopes it will help me get out of my veggie-rut!

  7. 7
    Helaine Clesmere

    Will look for this in the bookstore-sounds like a great read!

  8. 8

    Ooo – I would LOVE that cookbook. Thanks for sharing your interview.

  9. 9
    Stephanie D

    This book looks wonderful!

  10. I read her book a few years ago and was quite intrigued. Your interview made it more personal, and I’d love to check out the cookbook!

  11. 11

    i’d love a copy of this one!

  12. I think I NEED this book…there’s no time like your fifty-somethings to start cooking right!

  13. 13

    I definitely agree with 3 vs 6 meals a day. Hard enough to excercise self control 3 times a day let alone 6!

  14. 14

    Would love to win this!

  15. 15

    Now, wouldn’t this be a nice cookbook to have? Hope it continues to help my weight loss!

    yogawithgaileee at gmail dot com

  16. 16


  17. 17

    I have heard of this cookbook and hope to try it out one day. I’m glad you got a chance to interview her, she has a very intriguing and interesting perspective on cooking!

  18. 18

    I loved this book but haven’t seen the cookbook. Must check it out!

  19. 19

    What a great interview. This would be a great cookbook to add to my “collection”. 🙂

  20. Je voudrais le livre de Aw crap I can’t remember how to say cook book in French!

  21. 21

    Thanks for sharing this great interview!

  22. 22

    Wow-the recipe for steamed veggies sounds great. I’m heading out the Union Square tomorrow to get what I need.

  23. 23

    Would love to read this, fun interview!

  24. 24

    I loved her other book and would love to read the cookbook!

  25. 25
    Taylor Allread

    She sounds great! I’ll have to check her books out.

  26. 26
    Jennifer Toone

    I’d love to have this book! I’ve never been good at meal planning and I’d love to see how it’s done the other way. I’d love the opportunity to be inspired by her recipes to be adventurous and just buy what is in season and looks good and then plan a meal around it. She sounds like such a neat lady!

  27. 27
    Auntie Barb

    I loved her book! Don’t live it (but should and intend to some day!) I will have to take a look at her cookbook. It sounds fab! Hey, someday I may win something from this blog!

  28. 28

    I would love to win this book!

  29. I’d love to have this book! Sounds great!

  30. 30
    Melissa Grogan

    I’d love to try her approach.. maybe it would be a better diet than what I’m trying! Even if I don’t win, I’ll reserve her new book at the library!

  31. 31
    Barbara Ann Baker

    Dear Jane, Pick me ! I can use all the help that is out there and more — plus a year off by myself to read everything. miss you,
    barbara ann

  32. 32
    Jenny Worthington

    I love this! Very interesting.

  33. 33

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fat French woman.

  34. 34

    Fun interview, and a new cookbook is certainly ‘something I wouldn’t spit on’. lol. I am in love with cookbooks, especially french cooking.

  35. 35

    Looks like a great cookbook!

  36. 36

    Yummy 🙂

  37. 37

    Wow, I’m sold! I definitely need to read that book!

  38. 38
    sarah barban

    I’ve always wanted to read that book. It sounds so interesting.

  39. 39

    Wow, this would be LOVELY! 🙂

  40. I could use this book!

  41. 41

    I would love to know how the french women stay thin and why some of us Americans are a little on the chubby side.

  42. 42

    I really enjoyed recipes from her first book, so it would be wonderful to get more recipes from her. thanks for the giveaway. ( :

  43. 43
    Nikki CB

    What a nice interview! She does sound lovely! This cookbook would be great to have – I feel like it would bring a change of pace to my cookbookshelf.

  44. 44
    Lisa VT

    My fridge hopes that I get this book!

  45. 45

    Her comments on her favorite food remind me of Pain au chocolat. I once saw a French person stick a big piece of dark chocolate in a baguette, and I thought, “genius!”

    I’d love to check out her book!

  46. 46

    I just returned from a trip to France where my sister was doing a study abroad semester. I’d love to share this book with her…or maybe secretly keep it for myself 😉

  47. 47
    Kirstjen Pratt

    That interview was fun to read! I’d love a copy of her book!

  48. 48

    We should all be a little French!

  49. 49
    Brittany Riesenberg

    love it!

  50. 50

    I would love it!

  51. 51
    Ali in WA

    What a fun interview! I’m always in need of a great cookbook–it’s been awhile since anything not printed off the internet has entered my kitchen!

  52. 52
    ronwin ashton

    Any new cookbook to work with is exciting!

  53. 53

    I read Mireille’s book and would love to have a copy of the cookbook. Thanks for the giveaway and the interview.

  54. 54

    I love leeks too! Sounds like it will be a yummy cookbook

  55. 55

    I would love to win a copy of this book!

  56. 56

    Come on, I have the french-est name out there, right!? My full name…Collette Demars Violette!

  57. 57

    Loved the interview. I too feel I get in a rut with veggies and would love to have lots of new ideas. Here’s to winning! 🙂

  58. 58
    Robin R


  59. 59
    Jessica Allen

    Pick me! Pick me!

  60. 60

    Leeks like a sweet book to moi!

  61. New cookbook, different culture, c’est magnifique! Merci! 🙂

  62. 62
    andrea p

    I borrowed the book from my mom a few years ago, but I would love to have recipes all together. Every time I see leeks in the store I’m reminded of the Leek Soup she mentions in the book, but I don’t have the recipe!

  63. 63

    The post was great!! and I guess the book is awesome! Pick me!

  64. 64

    Sounds like a great book!

  65. 65
    Jess Green

    Yummy!!! I love my veggies.

  66. 66
    Jennifer Abbott

    The meals we could make with that.

  67. 67

    Lots of creativity and health? I’m all for that!
    Carrie served her mission in France and loves their food.

  68. 68
    Kassie B

    My husband lived in France for 2 years and LOVES their food.

  69. 69

    I love healthy new ideas 🙂

  70. Oh food! I love you so! I always welcome new recipes!

  71. 71

    I have been so curious about that book!

  72. 72
    Peg C

    having read her second book to have her books as cookbook would be wonderful

  73. 73
    Jenny Jolley

    I would be very interested to learn about her ‘way’ of thinking and eating!!!

  74. 74
    Rebecca R.

    Just discovered your site and I LOVE it! Would love this book. I’ve heard great things about it.

  75. 75
    M.J. Jacobsen

    I’ve been wanting to read her books! Thanks for the chance!

  76. 76

    I was just telling my husband about this book the other day — and so it seems just too perfect of a coincidence! Count me in!

  77. I would love to receive this book. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

  78. 78
    Valerie Gathright

    I’ve been dying to read that book. It’s really true, from having lived in France, they are so thin, yet eat such delicious food!

  79. 79

    I would LOVE a new cookbook – especially this one!

  80. 80

    i too would love to receive this book-

  81. 81

    I want to learn the secrets of cooking fish. I’ve learned how the Italians put it in spaghetti and risottos,now it would be great to learn how the french do it!

  82. 82

    I love cookbooks!! This one looks like one I need. 🙂

  83. 83
    Amanda L.

    I need more cookbooks and this one would be great!!

  84. 84

    This sounds like such an interesting read!

  85. 85

    I don’t think I’m ever cooked anything french…I’m game for trying something new!

  86. 86

    I would love to see what this book has to offer!

  87. This sounds like a cool book!

  88. 88

    I would love to try her recipes!!

  89. 89

    I love French food. I think this book sounds amazing!

  90. 90
    Linda Johnston

    I love her book French Women don’t get fat. I was so excited to hear about her cookbook!

  91. 91

    Great interview! I would love to check out her cookbook.

  92. 92
    Heidi McCarthy

    This sounds like an interesting book. I loved the interview.

  93. 93

    I have heard about this book and would love to win!

  94. 94
    Kayla C

    I always did wonder why French Women Don’t Get Fat ;)!! I would love to have the cookbook!!

  95. 95

    Would absolutely love to have this book! Thanks for posting the interview and for being such a nice blogger. I get excited every time you post 😀

  96. 97
    Rachel R

    I enjoyed the interview – reminded me of this: I read this awhile back -it is an American journalist living in France, her son attends school there and she blogs about the French school lunches. It was too interesting not to pass along.

  97. 98

    She has some great advice. I would love to win her book and get more practice cooking with fish! I also used to be a fish hater, but have now seen the light.

  98. 99
    Sybil Clark

    The best cookbook to me is one that gives you wonderful stories as well as great recipes. This one sounds perfect.

  99. 100

    I would love to add this cookbook as my other ‘go to’ option!

  100. 101

    I would love to add this to my cookbook collection!

  101. 102
    Jennifer K

    I read her first book – wonderful! Would love to share this information with my students and get my first ever cookbook. 🙂

  102. 103

    I’d love to have a copy of this book. We’re really trying to eat local, fresh, real food in our house!!

  103. 104
    Lori H

    I loved her first book, but have not seen the cookbook. I would love to own it!

  104. 105

    Would love the book!

  105. 106

    Count me in!

  106. 107
    Kristin B.

    J’adore cookbooks!

  107. 108

    I would love to win this book!

  108. 109

    Sounds like you had a lovely conversation with her! You are SO LUCKY! This book is on my wish list!!

  109. 110
    shanna boatler

    thanks for the interview!! I’ve read her book and the cookbook would be a great addition!!

  110. 111

    must check this out!

  111. Looks like a great book. I am very interested in seeing it. May have to find it at a bookstore if I don’t win.

  112. 113

    Jane how did you swing this one, amazing girl! I’ve done the three meals a day plan with nothing in between for the last 6 and one half years, and totally agree with her, so I’m curious about her cookbook… Love to get new ideas and inspiration.

  113. 114

    Pick me Jane!

  114. 115

    I would love to win a copy of this book!

  115. 116

    Oooh! I want a lovely copy!

  116. 117
    Amy B.

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Amy B.

  117. 118
    Emma K.

    This would be a great book to add to my collection!

  118. 119

    This book sounds fantastic! I so hope I win.

  119. A few years ago, I read French Women Don’t Get Fat because unfortunately American women often do. The cookbook sounds lovely.

  120. 121

    This book sounds great! I’ll definitely have to check it out.

  121. 122
    Teresa R

    I need this book.

  122. 123
    Maria Hartnett

    Wow- sounds like a great book!

  123. 124

    pick me!!

  124. 125
    Renee R

    I ate too many french pastries in Paris, and I can truthfully say that American Women Eating French Food DO Get Fat!!!

  125. 126
    Holly E

    Thanks for the interview. I feel inspired by just reading the answers she gave. Thanks!

  126. 127
    Katie S

    What a great interview. Thanks so much!

  127. 128

    I love reading and I love food. Book about food? YES PLEASE! 🙂

  128. 129

    Oh..sounds lovely!

  129. 130

    You had me at “women don’t get fat”… It’s a French cookbook? Now that is something I don’t have but would love to try, thank you!

  130. 131

    The last time my parents were out here, they were on a French food CRAAAAZE! I’d love to be able to cook them a delicious and nutritious French meal!

  131. 132

    Oh, I’ve read an interview her with her before, I would love to win her book! In the article, she discussed what she ate for the week. I actually copied it for future reference in my meal planning guide! The meals sounded so simple, but with beautiful and healthy ingredients.

  132. 133
    Jenny A.

    I recently saw her first book in the bookstore . I really wanted to purchase it, but my budget wouldn’t allow it. 🙁 I absolutely love cooking new recipes from cookbooks! I would LOVE to win this one! Thank you for the wonderful interview!

  133. 134
    Linnea Krizsan

    Terrific. Enjoyed the interview.

  134. 135

    I’m in. Very interesting

  135. 136
    Jean Asuncion

    Always on the lookout for a new cookbook; this one sounds great.

  136. 137

    I love cookbooks!

  137. 138

    this looks like a great cookbook!

  138. 139

    I need this.

  139. I need this book for my post pregnancy (baby comes aug.10) weight loss regiment. So funny i have a friend that lives 2 doors down named Mireille. (she is not french, but very skinny)

  140. Eat SLOWLY?! I know I need to do this… maybe the book will inspire this fast eater to slow down!

  141. 142
    Knute Ream

    One in 70 isn’t bad odds…

  142. 143

    I enjoyed the interview & I’ve heard the cookbook is great 🙂 Fantastic!

  143. 144


  144. 145
    Karen M

    I would love some summer reading material!
    xxxxfingers crossedxxxx

  145. 146

    I’ve heard great things about this book!

  146. 147

    This book looks fantastic! Fingers crossed!

  147. 148

    i always always love a new cookbook!

  148. This looks like such a great book, I would love to win! 🙂

  149. 150
    megan w

    I would love!

  150. 151

    This looks like a great book — I would love to win it!

  151. 152

    I have two of her other books and love them both. Would love to read this one as well!

  152. Enter me, please!

  153. 154

    Just found the site – very cool!

  154. 155

    I would love to get a copy of this cookbook. Sounds great

  155. 156
    Sarah C

    This book sounds fascinating – I’d love to read it! Thanks so much.

  156. 157

    Tres bien!

  157. 158
    Amy S.

    I’d love to read this!

  158. 159
    Lee L

    Would love to read and cook this book – here’s hoping.

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