Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lunch in Paris

I was immediately skeptical about this book. Really? Do we need another book about relationships and food (think Eat, Pray, Love and Julie & Julia)? Or another book extolling the virtues of French women's eating habits (think French Women Don't Get Fat)? Surprisingly, maybe we do need another book in this genre. First off, the chapters are quick so the read is a breeze, and Bard has a nice sly wit as evidenced by the opening line: "I slept with my French husband halfway through our first date."

Second, I actually found this book to be a bit of a magnifying glass into contemporary France (Francophiles take note). It is as much a memoir of Bard's romance as it is a cultural study of Paris and France. And it's nice to hear about France from an American insider, which is not as romanticized as it could be, yet still appreciates what the culture has to offer. Naturally, she approaches her acclimation to French living through the food culture: daily visits to the street market, preparing complex dishes, and then leisurely savoring them. It is comfort food for Bard on a new level.

Each chapter ends with a few recipes. Most are too complicated or adventurous for me, but hardcore foodies will probably find some new ideas.