Madame Labriski: Energy cookies and pleasure

I was so delighted when Simone Lemieux, a nutritionist and professor at the School of Nutrition, agreed to write the foreword to my second cookbook in French Bye-bye sucre raffiné, bonjour purée de dattes!. Of course, it was a great honour knowing that such an expert in the field believes in Madame Labriski and the values and lifestyle I’m seeking to convey and share.

I therefore invite you to read Mrs. Lemieux’s article below, which was the starting point for our collaboration on the cookbook. The text is taken from the following website:

I hope you find it interesting!

I have repeatedly been disappointed by various recipes for cookies, bars and muffins that I’ve tried in the past. Too much of this, not enough of that, too complicated for no reason. In short, I’d always go back to my good old banana bread recipe… But that was before Madame Labriski’s book became part of my life!

Madame who?
Madame Labriski describes herself as an entrepreneur-mother-marathon runner (she once ran the 42.2 km in 3:08!). It was because she couldn’t find any recipes for wholesome snacks that were to her liking that she decided to put into practice the famous saying “if you want something done, it’s best to do it yourself.” This was the rationale behind the bestselling cookbook Fuel Your Day released in August 2019, the French version of which, according to the latest count, has sold 100,000 copies.
Make no mistake, Madame Labriski wasn’t born in Poland or Russia; she’s a Quebecer who has slightly doctored her name. In fact, Mériane Labrie uses the “ski” as a trademark, not only in her name, but also in many written communications. She therefore talks of her “missionski” and her “newsletterski.” The use of the suffix may get on some people’s nerves, but I find it rather amusing. It makes me smile because it takes me back to my childhood and how much fun I had discovering the language of the Smurfs!

What are these famous energy cookies like?
The hugely successful cookbook features 100 recipes for making mainly energy cookies but also bars, muffins, treats and other delights.
From a strictly food point of view, what sets Labriski’s cookies apart is the use of date puree to sweeten virtually all the recipes and plain yogurt or applesauce as a substitute for the usual fats contained in this type of product. Then there’s the fact that she advocates a wide variety of nuts, seeds and flours, and there’s a prevalence of fruit in the vast majority of the recipes.
Without even calculating the nutritional value of Madame Labriski’s energy cookies, I quickly discovered that they rated high in terms of nutritional quality. It should be noted that no information about this is given for any of the recipes. The author pointed out that she didn’t want to provide these types of facts because she has no formal training in nutrition.
As you may have guessed, my enthusiasm for the Labriski phenomenon is not limited to the fact that her recipes are interesting nutritional-wise. The reason I’ve tried out more than 20 cookie recipes so far lies elsewhere.

The pleasure
First of all, I find Madame Labriski’s cookies taste really good! And because taste is the Number 1 determinant of our food choices, I’ll continue to bake these energy cookies!

More generally speaking, I’d say that it’s probably the use of pleasure as an ingredient in its own right in all of Madame Labriski’s recipes that appealed to me the most.

This ingredient “talks” to me because I have taken a keen interest in eating pleasure in my research. Moreover, I recently read numerous scientific papers on the subject, including several that suggest that the concept of pleasure should be more widely used to promote healthy eating. In this respect, it is also claimed that the idea of pleasure should not be limited to the characteristics of foods, but instead also encompass certain contextual factors surrounding the act of eating.

I consider that Madame Labriski succeeds remarkably well in this regard. She integrates several aspects of pleasure into her recipes. Firstly, their names are original and colourful: Pumpkinettes, the Apple of My Eye, The Let’s go Bananas… And it’s the same for all 100 recipes in the book! Secondly, she highlights not only the characteristics of her products in terms of their great taste (“Yum-yum, yummmmy, what more could you ask for!”), their appearance (“It gives them style!”) and their smell (“Oh! It smells of pure happiness.”), she also injects doses of pleasure in the way she provides us with the whole context surrounding the preparation and consumption of the products. To better understand how she goes about it, check out the recipes on her website or visit her Facebook page.

In closing, as I’ve already mentioned on this blog, I believe pleasure is all too often associated with so-called “forbidden” food and it would be interesting to reflect on strategies that could turn healthy food and healthy eating behaviours into a source of great pleasure. I think Madame Labriski, with her bowl, wooden spoon and good humour, is helping to take a step in this direction.

Enjoy the rest of summer!

You may also like

Want to stay in touch?

Keep up to date on all of Madame’s inspiring adventures and her latest culinary creations.