LUNCH IN PARIS
A Love Story With Recipes
BY ELIZABETH BARD
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's pink 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.
Elizabeth Bard is an American journalist based in Paris. She has written about art, travel and digital culture for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Wired, Time Out and The Huffington Post. She makes a mean chocolate soufflé.
LUNCH IN PARIS is Elizabeth Bard's glorious memoir about how she falls in love with a Frenchman over lunch and with a country over food. Moving to Paris as their relationship progresses, Bard encounters all the classic problems of an American living in a foreign city. She falls in love with the gastronomic delights and culinary scene as she encounters the countless bakeries, butchers, markets and stylish sidewalk cafes. When starting out, she is THE American in Paris and loving it! She is new to both Paris and to love and her excitement is enchanting. But, all good things have a way of turning once they become more routine, and she finds that the life she thought she had is not as perfect as it seemed. Essential differences in the cultures begin to cause problems not only in her relationship but even in her daily life.
Bard looks deeper into what it really means to live in another country and form new relationships not just with family and friends, but even with normal decisions one makes in everything from shopping to health care. Her detailed look at the differences between the two cultures is quite an eye opener. She never denies that living in France is remarkable, but she also admits that it is very hard. The diversion that satisfies Elizabeth is found in her French cooking where even the simple trip each day to the market is marvelous!
Her cooking and recipes seem to save her. It seemed that everyone she met had a story to tell that came with a recipe. This is where we understand why each chapter ends with a recipe. Bard’s writing talents are delicious as she describes the food and you can almost taste it. I haven’t tried any of her recipes but feel like I know how they taste. I think the recipes and her writing about the cooking is my favorite part of her memoir. That is something I could relate to having not been on a whirlwind romance and life in Paris. This part made sense to me and was reality. I am pretty sure that Dirty Chocolate Soufflé has more taste than the name may suggest.
Overall, I found LUNCH IN PARIS to be first of all a very brave book to write what with all the travel-and-eat-for-happiness, and cook-like-a-chef-for-love books that have been out of late. I also thought it was a delightfully fun, easy-to-read memoir that one could enjoy and not need a box of tissues to get through it.
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