Food Chat: Julia Child, Calories, Cake, Corn on the Cob

When I post photos and recipes to my blog or Instagram I sometimes receive messages from people wondering how I can eat cake yet maintain my weight. Did you know that beginning in her early forties and through the rest of her life Julia Child counted calories and weighed herself daily? She was an “assiduous calorie counter” which is exactly what I’ve been doing since I turned forty and documented in my vintage diet book American Women Didn’t Get Fat in the 1950s.

”I used to feel that the more I ate at every meal, the healthier I would be,” she (Julia) said. ”But I started putting on weight when I was 42. I weigh myself every morning.”

Her diet includes a lot of fruits and vegetables, few desserts, small portions and six tablespoons each day of fat or oil, including two of saturated fat. ”I like marble steaks, and I like butter,” she said. ”I am very careful to eat two tablespoons of saturated fat a day, with greatest pleasure.”

To me it’s no different than maintaining a budget by spending wisely. When you know you can afford to buy or eat something it can be much more enjoyable! And really, as a former apple orchard boss lady shared with me when I worked at her farm stand in the mid 1980s, it’s always a good day when you can stand up and take nourishment! At the time I didn’t really get it but since then as I’ve grown older I know how deep and true it is. To be well enough to eat and enjoy a nourishing gift as “simple” as a freshly picked apple is a good day! We don’t need apple pie.

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