September 9, 2004

Bring Back the Bread

Print More

The first thing I asked my sister as she helped me lug my suitcases up the stairs was what had changed in America in the past six weeks that I was away.

“Well, Mary Kate Olsen is anorexic, and every single food in the world now comes in a low-carb version.” While her first news update interested me, I was much more curious about the second. I had just spent six weeks eating a baguette with every meal and an array of pastries for dessert. I wasn’t ready to be assaulted with disapproving stares every time I graciously accepted the bread basket or the dessert menu at the restaurant.

Actually, up until my arrival in the French Alps, I too often found myself unconsciously shooting looks of criticism when I ate with a carb-lover. After two years of living in an Atkins-obsessed culture, where The South Beach Diet Cookbook remained on top of New York’s Bestseller List for months, almost as long as The Da Vinci Code, one couldn’t help but feed into the craze.

This is why I was prepared to gain a few pounds in France, notorious for its love and pride of breads and bakeries. I was brainwashed into believing that these foods were the ultimate enemy and upon ingestion would automatically result in weight gain.

The thought of a typical French day of eating horrified me. The morning begins with a steaming caf