Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Lunch in Paris...Review
In Paris for a weekend visit, Elizabeth Bard sat down to lunch with a handsome Frenchman--and never went home again.
Was it love at first sight? Or was it the way her knife slid effortlessly through her pavé au poivre, the steak'spink juices puddling into the buttery pepper sauce? Lunch in Paris is a memoir about a young American woman caught up in two passionate love affairs--one with her new beau, Gwendal, the other with French cuisine. Packing her bags for a new life in the world's most romantic city, Elizabeth is plunged into a world of bustling open-air markets, hipster bistros, and size 2 femmes fatales. She learns to gut her first fish (with a little help from Jane Austen), soothe pangs of homesickness (with the rise of a chocolate soufflé) and develops a crush on her local butcher (who bears a striking resemblance to Matt Dillon). Elizabeth finds that the deeper she immerses herself in the world of French cuisine, the more Paris itself begins to translate. French culture, she discovers, is not unlike a well-ripened cheese-there may be a crusty exterior, until you cut through to the melting, piquant heart.
Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home. In the delicious tradition of memoirs like A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun, this book is the perfect treat for anyone who has dreamed that lunch in Paris could change their life.
Having been to Paris some years ago, reading this book makes me want to return. Elizabeth captures the essence of Paris and the differences between the French and American cultures. Elizabeth's voice is lyrical and descriptive. The book is simply a pleasant diversion, nothing stellar or radically new. At times it's heartwarming, at other times it's a bit whiny.
Some readers will want to know that the book includes mild, unnecessary profanity and non-graphic pre-marital sex. It opens with the line, "I slept with my husband halfway through our first date" and that nearly turned me off of reading it. But, while similar in tone to Under the Tuscan Sun and other such memoirs, this was a book that I ultimately enjoyed. I really loved the inclusion of so many recipes.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can learn more about Elizabeth Bard here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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