Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon


  • French Kids Eat Everything: How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banned snacked, and discovered 10 simple rules for raising happy, healthy eaters
  • By: Karen Le Billon
  • ISBN-13: 9780062103291
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Pages: 305


Similar in tone to Bringing Up Bebe, French Kids Eat Everything chronicles a woman's journey into French family and culinary culture. Karen Le Billon and her husband decide to leave their Canadian home on a year-long sabbatical to the French countryside where her husband grew up. While his family may welcome them back, many in the town do no immediately warm up to this intruding family, especially since their values seem to clash. Karen learns the secrets to their culinary prowess, through shopping local and figuring out how to get her kids to eat any vegetable that they are presented. 

Through trial and error, Karen comes up with food rules that enable her to strike a balance between French eating norms and values she does not want to give up from her North American culture.


I really enjoyed this book, especially as a follow-up to Bringing Up Bebe, which I had just finished. I enjoyed both the personal aspects, her struggles with assimilating her family into a foreign culture, as well as the cultural aspects, the descriptions of the French town and culinary norms.

Her food rules also allow for personal reflection as my husband and I start our family and begin to make the decisions that will influence our home life and daughter. How and what do we want our daughter to eat? How can we strike a balance between health and convenience? This book puts a lot into perspective, that how we raise our children and interact with food in their childhood can profoundly influence how they eat as adults. It's our responsibility to do the best we can for our kids and I think Ms. Le Billon provides a pathway, probably with some tweaking to fit personal preferences and lifestyles, that parents can follow to enable healthy food relationships for their children. This book is not at all preachy or full of know-it-all advice. I enjoyed reading about the author's failures in her pursuit to healthy eating as well as her successes. Life is not perfect, it can be messy, and this book shows that. We all want the best for our kids, and I think learning about different methods, theories, cultures, and ideas can allow us to pick what we believe is best and works for us.

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