Last Saturday I placed two halves of a ripe, soft French cheese the size of a plate on top of a dish of sliced potatoes, bacon, garlic and cream, and baked it in the oven. Then I ate about half, with a glass of wine.
This is tartiflette, a dish from the Savoie region of France. The cheese is reblochon, a gorgeous unpasteurised washed-rind thing of beauty. If you had told me before I put it in the oven two of us would eat the whole dish between us, I wouldn't have believed you.
And yet we did, and enjoyed every mouthful.
This, of course, is not the kind of food I should admit to eating.
It doesn't tick any nutrition boxes. It's high-carb and high-fat - that deadly combo, making it highly calorific.
I would not be keen to run it through a nutrition analysis.
But obviously (at least I hope this is obvious) this is not the kind of thing I eat every day, or even every month.
It's in the realm of treat foods, to be savoured and enjoyed from time to time.
The people of France understand this, and practise it routinely. Although we think of French people munching croissants and foie gras daily washed down with lots of red wine, these are not everyday foods for them.
When they do have them, they eat small portions.
Perhaps the so-called French paradox may be explained this way.
Yes, the French eat cheese and drink wine but they practise moderation across the whole diet. This is likely why France has half New Zealand's rate of obesity, at just 15 per cent.
There are a few other interesting things about French food culture. In general, they don't snack. It's rare to see people eating on the street or in cars. Kids get an after-school snack but adults rarely eat between meals.
The French are disciplined in how they eat, but they don't practise denial. And the French really respect and cherish the ritual of mealtimes.
They cook a lot, they take time over meals, they sit down and eat mindfully. This is an important part of the culture that is taught to children from preschool onwards (just as it is, incidentally, in the home of the world's least obese people, Japan).
This doesn't mean things in France are perfect. The French obesity rate has been steadily rising in recent years, as it has all over the world.
The blame is placed on the increasing popularity of American-style fast food, the influence of global digital media and waning interest among young French people in learning to cook.
There's a fightback going on, though. Google "French anti-obesity campaign" and you'll find a poster guaranteed to put you off ice-cream.
It may be working - childhood obesity rates are bucking global trends and coming down. It seems we may be able to learn something from the home of all that fabulous cheese.