Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes written by Elizabeth Bard.
I was at our local bookstore recently when I saw this book; I could never, ever just pass by a book called Lunch in Paris, so naturally, I picked it up and perused through it. It certainly got my interest, & I was thrilled to see that my library had a copy!
The book chronicles the author's new life in Paris. The story starts with her first date with her husband - the meal they enjoyed at a Parisian restaurant, the tea he made for them later at his apartment and the meal he prepared for them later that night. After each chapter, there are recipes for some of the dishes that the author incorporates into her stories.
The thing that I enjoyed the most about this book is the description of the little ways that France & the U.S. differ. Sometimes they are small things, like no one eats any snacks at a day at the beach (I found the chapter with Bard's observations about why her mother-in-law is skinny to be really fascinating). And there are other differences, like how Gwendal, Bard's husband, was never encouraged to follow the career path he really wanted because it didn't pay well, it was hard to get into and his parents didn't know any contacts in that field so they couldn't have asked anyone to assist him. Or, how when Gwendal's father was dying of cancer, Bard noted that in France, authority is expressed by saying no (the Dr. got mad at them when the family hinted that they wanted a second opinion), whereas in the US, power is often displayed by a person's ability to say yes: being able to open the right doors for someone, or cash in favors. Bard's insights are very interesting, and really only achievable by having lived in both cultures.
As for the recipes, many of them sound great. I made the chouquettes for breakfast a few days ago & they were very good. I told the Bachsters that I was making French donuts, which is sort of true (except for the shape). We all gobbled them up. The chocolate souffle is on my list to make, even though I'm trying to not eat desserts! The potato and celery root mash sounds like a good variation on mashed potatoes.
In all, this is an enjoyable story about a young woman falling in love with her "l'homme de ma vie" as well as falling in love with Paris, its charms, its idiosyncrasies and its food! There are lots of interesting insights into the French culture, as well as tons of stories about delicious meals, followed by recipes. If you love all things French, you must check out this book - tout suite!
(By the way, you can check out Elizabeth Bard's blog at http://www.elizabethbard.com/ to find out what she & Gwendal are up to, where they are living now and all about their new little addition.)