What a charming book this was! I don’t even remember how I came about to have this in my collection. To be sure, I am rather French-obsessed. The usual books and films and music (when I got into Black Metal I searched out all the French ones) and food are just a jumping off point. I really enjoy trying to discern what is so attractive to me about the people and the culture, other than a vague heritage. This book had all that and more. It had mouth-watering food. And heart.
Ms. Berg is a grad student beginning her masters in Art History in London when she makes the aquaintance of a young Frenchman, Gwendal, who was finishing up his PhD in Computer Science at a seminar. They have a little email courtship and soon she is taking the Eurostar to Paris for their first date. Thus begins her immersion in the cuture and food and intricasies of Parisian life. Each chapter tells a little story of their romance or of her search for a direction in her new life or of the differences in the culture, then is finished off with a few recipes that pertain to the previous chapters subject. This makes it a fun and fast read, while I book darted all the recipes I wanted to try.
“What if I stopped to ask myself what would make me happy, instead of what would make me successful, respectable, worthy?”
I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, coming to terms with her American drive colliding with the French shrug. Throughnit all she focuses on what brings people together, family and friends, and creates a community.
Ms. Berg’s prose is clear and funny, touching without being maudlin. I was happy to cozy up to this while it rained and stormed outside, making lists of supplies I would need for trying Poulet Basquaise. Have a demitasse of espresso or a glass of wine and dive in.