Adding Romance to Your Meals

Add a sense of ritual to preparing your meals and setting your table.

French women love to shop and prepare food. They love to talk about what they have bought and made. It’s a deeply natural love, but one that is erased in many other cultures. Most French women learn it from their mothers, some from their fathers. But if your parents aren’t French you can still learn it yourself. Even though I was a student, Dr. Miracle sent me to one of the best local markets, rue Clerc, near where I lived in Paris, two to three times a week.

His advice was simple: buy only what you need for the next day or two. (Forget your twice a month mega-hauls from the supermarket.) I was to cook simply but cook at home so as to see and learn what I was putting into my body.In recasting it is a great help to make and bring your own lunch. Avoid the unknowns of prepared foods, especially the processed kind. (Easier than bringing your scale to work!) It was equally important to transform my evening meal into a sort of “gourmand” happening. “What’s for dinner?” was to become an exciting question with varied answers.

Thought and preparation must go into your supper. You must decide that the results you want are worth a little extra thought and effort in the beginning. In no time you will find yourself doing it automatically. Marketing and cooking were relatively new to me—I somehow hadn’t picked up much at home, though there were great cooks in my family—but Dr. Miracle insisted that I would have fun with it. Fortunately, most of my university classes didn’t start until late morning.

Another way to add ritual joy to your eating is by adding romance to your table. Here are some tips: