I have recently been thinking how clothes are like food; or rather dressing habits are like eating habits. There are clothes you wear everyday and clothes you wear to work and those you don for special occasions and it’s the same with food.
French women never leave their looks or clothes to chance. They always take care of how they look and would not dream of going on a hike, a bicycle-ride or shopping, without a full layer of make-up on. I don’t know if it’s because I’m English, or how I was brought up, but I don’t think like that at all; in fact I sometimes think that I am invisible and no-one will notice the shabby jeans and un-made up face that I wear to the market, (who’s going to know me anyway?) I like to disappear rather than stand-out.
French women always wear matching underwear. They wouldn’t understand the English saying that you should wear nice underwear in case you get hit by a bus; they would never not wear nice underwear. I know this from when I worked on a couple of commercials in France, and all the extras (women) wore expensive matching bra and knickers. In the UK and the US they are less scrupulous about matching their smalls and sometimes you’re lucky if they have any on at all! Years ago when I was a costume assistant on The Player, Julia Roberts came in for one day to do her scene in the film within the film when she is carried out of the gas chamber by Bruce Willis. All she wears in the scene is an execution gown and she had come in without any underwear on. It was a Sunday and it was my job to go and sit outside the mall and wait until it opened to buy her a pair of knickers! Oh and another time I was at an exercise class and she turned up in her boyfriend’s boxer shorts! But enough of that, this is not supposed to be an expose of celebrities’ underwear, but a thought provoking piece on the correlation between food and clothes.
Most of the time, when I am at home, I wear the same outfit day in and out and my daily dilemma is when to get dressed. I wake up about the same time every morning (8.10 to be exact) and go down, let the dogs out, make a cup of tea and feed the cat. I then go onto my computer, ostensibly to just check on emails, but soon start reading, writing, posting. So in fact have already begun the day’s work. So the question is, when do I then go back up and get dressed to start the day officially?
Have you noticed in old film noir movies, the bad woman, the slut or the blackmailer is always wearing a nightdress and dressing gown when the detective goes round to call? I think of that when at 11 o’clock or so, I am still in my pyjamas and dressing gown and the postman has knocked for me to sign a special delivery!
Besides wearing matching underwear and full make-up, French woman also go regularly to the hairdresser’s; my town has 17 hairdressers! I go at the most twice a year, so who are the other people that go?
I put this question to Isabelle at Les Coiffeures des Halles where I went for my bi-annual trim, wash and brushing (blow dry) recently, I asked who her clients were, were they older women? But she said no, they were mixed. A lot of women have the type of hair cuts that need regular attention and most French women dye their hair and need colour touch ups. Also they like to go for a weekly wash and ‘brushing’. I must say every time I pass one of the 17 hairdressers, they always have people in them.
Anyway the point of this post was to say that just as I have an every day winter outfit, I also have a staple winter food which is soup and in the summer I have a summer outfit and eat salad. Sometimes I will mix these up and eat a salad in the winter (carrot and orange, celery remoulade or mâche and beetroot) and a soup in the summer (soupe a la pistou or gaspacho), but you get my point.
Winter is nearly over and it’s really rather late for soup recipes, we’re looking forward to young Spring vegetables and yet the wait goes on and I am still in my jeans, sweater, socks and boots (actually I’m not, I’m in my pyjamas and dressing gown); so I’m going to give you a very basic soup recipe, the jeans and sweater version of a soup, to use up the last of your winter vegetables.
Soups are such an easy thing to make that there really is no excuse not to make them yourself. As long as you a have an onion, a clove or two of garlic, a carrot, a leak and a celery stick, you have the base of almost any soup. Once you’ve chopped and sweated these in some olive oil, you can add any vegetable that you happen to have; carrots, broccoli, leeks, parsnips, spinach, cauliflower, whatever. You then need to add some stock (I usually use Marigold Organic Bouillon, if not using my own) about a litre, bring this to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes depending on which you use) and then whizz up with a hand blender and there you have it, delicious soup!
When you serve the soup you can add some croutons (cut up some dry bread and fry in some oil or duck fat), or lardons (cut up bacon and fry) chopped parsley or grated parmesan; or you can get really fancy and float some toasted bread with goats cheese or cheddar as well. When I’m sweating the vegetables at the beginning, I often add a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of crushed coriander and a few dried chilli flakes to give the soup an added spicy oomph, and if you still need more, add a splash or Worcestershire sauce or tabasco at the table.
I spoke with my sister Sabrina as I was writing this post and she asked what it was about. When I said that it was about the correlation between food and clothes she said, “Oh like when you eat too much and your clothes don’t fit?”
Another angle altogether.
Please leave a comment on your thoughts on this subject. I thank you…….