The Sweet Life in Paris
by David Lebovitz
Published by Broadway Books
rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I went the to the bookstore the other night with absolutely no intention of buying. The last thing I need is to bring another book into this house when I have literally shelves of books unread. But in browsing the front tables I was initially drawn to the title of this book because…well….my mind is rather preoccupied with this topic lately. I briefly skimmed the book and decided that it would be a good “research” book for my upcoming trip (I can rationalize just about anything under the guise of “research”)
Anyway, I came home, started reading, and have not been able to put it down and while it has provided me with useful information prior to my adventure, I also know that I will re-read this book when I return with the hopes of recreating the taste of Paris by trying a few of the authentic French recipes.
Each chapter is divided into two separate parts: one discusses some aspect of the Parisian culture that an American living there might find useful, such as….Parisians use a knife and fork to eat just about EVERYTHING and they rarely use their fingers (even when eating a banana). Parisian shop owners would like to be treated with a bit of respect – a simple Bonjour Madame upon entering the store and an Au Revoir Monsieur upon leaving is just common courtesy as far as they are concerned. And when ordering in a cafe, never order cafe au lait (apparently that is only served in the home – never in public) but rather order a cafe creme.
Not only did I find each chapter filled with practical advice, but I adored the author’s sense of humor and his unique way of observing life (you can also visit his blog, David Lebovitz for further Parisian reviews). It makes for a very pleasant read and even if you have no plans to live in Paris yourself, you may enjoy this literary escape to the culinary capital of the world. For those participating in the Paris in July challenge, I think this would be an excellent choice.
There are numerous recipes that I wish to try when I return – many are dessert-type recipes such as Chocolate Macaroons, Dulce de Leche Brownies, and Salted Butter Caramel Sauce — but there are also several savory dishes that have piqued my interest such as Tomato and Sourdough Bread Salad, Braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with Prunes, and Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake. Perhaps in the fall I can review a few of these for future segments of Weekend Cooking.
Until that time…..Bon Appetit!