Mimi Thorisson’s Tips To Live Like the French
What is it about the French? Their pastries are always a little flakier, their accents a little cooler, their wine a little yummier, their outfits a little better assembled.
And nobody does chic à la Française quite like Mimi Thorisson, the voice behind our latest blog obsession, Manger. Documenting her culinary exploits from a picturesque country estate in Médoc, France, Thorisson whips up exquisitely beautiful dishes (um, more garden cake, s’il vous plait) while simultaneously caring for four porcelain-skinned children and fourteen—yes, fourteen—fluffy dogs.
Suffice it to say, we’ve developed a major life crush on Madame Mimi. So when she agreed to spill her five tips for living it up like a real Frenchie, we immediately began practicing our rolled r’s.
1. Have an Excuse to Always Have Champagne: “In France, we pop the champagne bottle for any occasion,” says Thorisson. “When we receive good news, when a friend visits, when the weather is good, when we are happy, when it’s the weekend, when we play our favourite music. The best way to serve champagne is ice cold, along with a platter of homemade cheese puffs. My champagne of choice is the Drappier Andre et Michel Brut Nature. It was also Charles de Gaulle’s favourite champagne maker.”
2. Cook with Good Old-Fashioned Fats: “Butter and duck fat are the soul of French cuisine,” explains Thorrison. “Butter doesn’t deserve all its bad reputation as it is an excellent source of vitamins and protects us from cancer and boosts immunity. Duck fat is high in beneficial unsaturated fat and makes any food instantly luxurious. You can eat whatever you love, as long as you do it with moderation. And no snacking, ever! Why spoil your appetite when you can fully enjoy a good meal. I love the ‘beurre’ Bordier and buy duck fat jars from local producers in the Gers [the Midi-Pyrénées region in the southwest of France].”
3. Add a Dash of Orange Flower Blossom To Your Life: “The smell and flavor of fleur d’oranger is pure comfort and joy, reminding me of childhood holidays spent at my grandmother’s house in the South of France. I add fleur d’oranger everywhere—in most of my cakes, waffles, pancakes, milk. It is also the scent of my house linens and my children’s perfume. Heaven in a bottle.”
4. Be Chic at All Times—Even if You Live in the Country: “Whether I am cooking, playing with our fourteen dogs, picking up the kids from school, gardening or simply lounging around the house, I never let myself get ‘out-of-sync,’” says Thorisson. “Always have some rouge on your cheeks, mascara on your eyelashes, perfect nails and a lovely outfit. You will feel and look better. I can’t live without my APC dresses, Isabel Marant tunics, Repetto ballerinas and Hunter boots.”
5. Drink More Red Wine: “It’s good for you! As Louis Pasteur once said, ‘Wine is the most healthy and most hygienic of all beverages.’ Living in Médoc, I am spoilt for choice. If I had to pick one for dinner tonight, it would be Château Citran—it’s a perfect convivial choice and the peacock on the label is beautiful.”