French women, apparently, do get fat. That's why Valérie Orsoni launched the online weight-loss program LeBootCamp (lebootcamp.com).
The concept is a little counterintuitivewouldn't we be slimmer if we didn't spend so much time at our computers?yet it's very successful: LeBootCamp now has 700,000 members worldwide and recently expanded to the U.S. Users liken LeBootCamp to a 24-hour support group, without any touchy-feely meetings. In addition to daily e-mails with friendly exercise and nutrition tips, strewn with lots of smiley-face emoticons, members receive easy recipes, often with an international bent, from Edmond Orsoni, Orsoni's father.
He creates an excellent version of shwarma, the Middle Eastern street food of grilled meat stuffed in a pita, by spicing chicken with cardamom and serving it with a lemony tahini sauce. He adds walnuts to chorba, a North African dish of saffron-inflected chicken. And he sprinkles chicken with the tangy spice blend chaat masala to make an especially good version of chicken tandoori, the northern-Indian classic. All three recipes deserve a smiley face.