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French Chintz

November 23, 1990

Even after an expensive cross-Atlantic visit, reporter Edward Dolnick couldn't come up with the answer as to why the French are more fit than Americans (Oct. 25). I have a theory. It is the chintziness of the French. Those sauces cover up for the niggardly amount of food they typically serve. The more generous Americans take in a lot more food, i.e. calories.

I read somewhere that the French learned about chopping and sauteing anything handy and covering the invention with camouflaging sauces from an Italian, Marco Polo, who in turn learned the trick of preparing "cheap cuisine made to look elegant" from the economy-minded Chinese. I've dined on French food during two visits to that country, and in this country when I'm forced to. I'm never sure whether there's a piece of shoe leather under the distracting sauce or an eighth of an ounce of real beef.

So the answer as to why the French are more fit may be that we hearty Americans simply eat more, whether it's fried chicken or celery sticks. But at least we know what we're eating and don't feel the need to bury our food under deceptive sauces.

--CAROL LAW

Leucadia

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