Monday, January 30, 2006

Exercise/death on the pavement/Paris bistros

Sunday lived up to its name, so I decided to get out earlier than usual and get some exercise. Fortunately I didn't leave about ten minutes earlier, because this was on my route, with ambulance and police still there:

It was lucky that it was a Sunday morning; this is Wembley High Street, which is usually packed with people.

The photo was taken about two hours later, after I'd got back from my walk to Wembley market. On the bus I saw that the car was still there. So when I got home, I got my camera and walked back - when it's sunny even this extra effort seems quite pleasant. Then walked home - having had more exercise than intended and another example of why one should...

always carry a camera !

Exercise - the Paris connection, advice from an American

"The French Paradox Resolved"

"The idea of a French Paradox is virtually a tautology. In a thousand different ways the French declare along with Walt Whitman: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. And the contradiction which most annoys the calory-conscious Anglo-Saxon is the apparent ability to stow away large quantities of butter, cheese, eggs and fatty meats and still maintain a remarkably low incidence of heart disease.

...some investigators are now suggesting that the determining historical factor has actually been exercise. Exercise?! Don't be ridiculous. It's got to be something you can buy across the counter - that's the American Way!

Whatever the experts may finally conclude, I've arrived at my own solution. Two separate weeks, with a week off in between, I've eaten myself silly in Paris - a grand total of nineteen serious lunches and dinners. At the end of each week I came home, climbed on the scales, and discovered that I'd put on exactly one pound. That's right, one pound. After a couple of days, without any particularly effort, it went away. [My third trip a couple of months later, for ten days, added two pounds, but they came off with equal ease.]

I could write a book, itemizing the ingredients of the foods I'd eaten and sorting them into revolutionary new categories, such as monofolics, bifolics and trifolics. (The words don't mean anything; I just made them up.) But if I were to be honest, I'd have to admit that my method was, in every sense, pedestrian. I walked. Everywhere. Well, not everywhere, but a total of between four and six hours a day.
It was tiring the first couple of days, but I got used to it. And Paris is such a wonderful city to walk in! Not always beautiful, but always fascinating. Inside the peripherique there are few areas that are actually dangerous - at least I didn't discover any the hard way.

Simple, isn't it? It'll work a treat in Paris, and once you get back home to Orange County, all you have to do is totally alter your entire way of life. Throw away the TV remote control. Pull the plug on your freezer and shop for food every day - real food that comes in bags, not boxes. Leave the gas-guzzler in the garage and walk that dusty mile to the mall along a highway screaming with traffic - no sidewalk, just the dirt along the edge, not even a track, because nobody ever walks there - until a police car picks you up, takes you to the station and grills you for hours about your suspicious behavior.

And if they don't lock you up in the loony bin you can try it again tomorrow."

In London, as in Paris, we have pavements, which we happily use with cars and huge lorries zooming past, sometimes a few inches away and we don't give it a thought, especially when there are heavy metal railings seeming to offer us some protection - but ...

... it makes you think: carpe diem and eat well while you can.

Paris bistros

Whiting's article is linked to a set of very interesting reviews of bistros in Paris:

with some very honest criticisms of some bistros and praise of others, including some cheap, relatively unknown places, e.g.:

"Why is this preeminent exemplar of artistic and gastronomic history [Polidor, 41 rue Monseur-le-Prince, 6th] denied a mention in most of the guides? Not a word in Gault-Millau or Michelin of course, though the latter gives three crossed forks/spoons to the 18th century literary café Le Procope, now swallowed up by the Flo Group and regurgitated as a trappe de touriste."


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