It’s time for another book suggestion and this one is a must for any Francophiles out there.
Lunch in Paris, A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard is as delightful as the illustration on the cover (below). I found it while browsing through the library shelves last week and couldn’t resist picking it up. I have not been disappointed.
As if it weren’t enough to sigh over Elizabeth falling in love with the handsome Gwendal and moving to Paris to be with him and, well, to LIVE IN PARIS . . . each chapter ends with recipes that sound so appealing, I know I’m going to have to buy my own copy of this book to try out a few myself. The question will be whether to shelve it in the bookcase in my living room, or with the cook books on the baker’s rack in my kitchen.
These recipes sound so good . . .
How about mini almond cakes with a raspberry button, or melt-in-your-mouth braised beef with red wine, garlic and thyme? Rice pudding that you lovingly stir on the stove top like risotto (no oven in Gwendal’s tiny bachelor flat)? Or a fresh and fragrant fennel salad dressed with lemon, olive oil and pomegranate seeds?
(I wonder what the equivalent for YUM is in French?)
And did I mention that she now gets to LIVE IN PARIS?
It’s not all crispy croissants and Beaujolais Nouveau, however. In between trips to the markets and museums, Elizabeth shares some of the challenges of living abroad. For example, she illustrates how the French are not very, oh, flexible, shall we say? When her visiting mother found a rectangular spring-form pan that she planned to use to make cheesecake, the shop owner told her it was meant to be used making pate. And only pate. Period. Multi-purpose or inventive uses for a particular item are apparently frowned upon by the French, or certainly by the shop owner in this instance.
And while France reportedly has one of the best health care systems in the world, when her new father in law became ill, Elizabeth learned that many French doctors are accustomed to being treated like gods – beyond reproach or question. Patients and their families are afraid to question a diagnosis or even to request explanations of treatment plans or prognoses.
The moral, of course, is that the grass may seem greener, but even the most romantic and beautiful of places on earth will never be perfect in all respects. Not that I meant to introduce a moral into this story, because after all, she gets to LIVE IN PARIS.
Whatever your opinion of Paris, France and “les citoyens” who live there, Elizabeth Bard’s entertaining story and mouth-watering recipes will surely satisfy both the stomach and the soul. C’est ravissant – et bon appetit!