Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bouling for Macarons: The Real Reason French Women Don't Get Fat

I have a new hypothesis for why French women aren't popping the buttons on their chic black capris. While I have never actually read the book, French Women Don't Get Fat, and am not an authority on anything other than pretending to be an authority on all things excepting cars and things with too many electronic buttons, I do have the benefit of real life experience. And by "real life experience," I mean " real life experience eating in and around Los Angeles."

As an American woman, I am well-acquainted with the rituals of eating fast, eating often and eating quantities that are better suited for wild animals preparing for hibernation rather than pudgy humans who sit in cubicles all day. I also know that in order to turn back the tide of obesity that threatens to feast upon my future spawn and future slower-metabolizing self, it is necessary to begin exhibiting a little restraint when faced with a box of dense, thickly-frosted Sprinkles red velvet cupcakes, or the plate-sized, 1/2-inch thick banana brown sugar pancakes from the Griddle Cafe. Unfortunately, because sweet and fatty food taste really really good, and my stomach is accustomed to a door policy of "the more the merrier," I'm not always able to resist shoving absurd proportions of the aforementioned treats down my throat.

Fortunately, not all the sweets in Los Angeles have been designed to eradicate my capricious desire to eat like a French woman. That's right, amidst a sea of cupcake bakeries and ice cream parlors, I, Diana H., author of nothing reputable, have found the answer to all image conscious Los Angelos' prayers. The real reason French women don't get fat is not because they chain smoke or expend loads of energy looking angry, but because they have a glorious, reasonably proportioned cookie called the macaron.

From the outside, macarons (not to be mistaken with the baffling and exceedingly unpleasant coconut macaroon) don't look like anything particularly decadent or delicious. With their delicate egg-white shells sandwiching a moderate amount of fondant, the typical macaron is certainly tea party-pretty, but hardly seems worthy of displacing a hunk of dark chocolate or bowl of ice cream for a mid-afternoon calorie splurge. When I want dessert, I want dessert -- not some impostor disguising itself as a fancy cookie.

Despite being socialized to judge books and people by their covers, approximately a year and half ago, I decided to pay a visit to the West Hollywood French patisserie Boule to give their famed macaron one chance at romancing my belly. Insert the cliche, "It was love at first bite" here. While it would be somewhat of an exaggeration to say that after 18-months of eating Boule's macarons, I now weigh less than a pre-preggers Nicole Richie, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I now know that I don't need a Sprinkles cupcake or a verbal beating from "Sweet" Lady Jane to shift my insulin levels into high gear. All I need is one macaron, preferably chocolate or fleur de sol, to transport me into a state of sugar-induced bliss.

Though a macaron is gone in approximately five small bites (two for males and Angelina Jolie), what it lacks in size it makes up for with its decadent dollops of flavor. I always want to mock (or stab) celebrities who boast that they are satisfied with "one spoonful of ice cream" or "three jelly beans," but I can honestly say that I actually am satisfied by one of Boule's macarons. So much so that I am inclined to send them a suggestion card proposing they advertise their macarons with the phrase, "Betcha can eat just one!"

Or, because I'm so credible, I'd be perfectly willing to let them steal my byline and use "The real reason French women (and Diana H.) don't get fat." (I won't mention the time I ate four.)

1 comment:

Sophie Dodd said...

Loved this post! Writing an essay on macarons right now and found this charming and well-written. I've thought along the same lines many times--but I'll admit, satisfied or not, I usually can't refrain from eating at least two (So many flavors! So little time!).