Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Lunch in Paris -- A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard (Copyright 2010) (Back Bay Books / Little Brown and Company, 2010)

Paris.  Paris, France.  Who hasn't dreamed of traveling to Paris?  Ever dreamed of taking up life there on a permanent basis?

Always the sound of Paris in name alone fills us with thoughts of intriguing personalities, gastronomic delights and markets filled with fresh produce and breads and trinkets.  Never having traveled to Paris and likely won't in the near term, I opted to read Elizabeth Bard's memoir, Lunch in Paris -- A Love Story, with Recipes.

The first sentence of Chapter 1 caught my attention:

"I slept with my French husband
halfway through our first date."

Wild horses could not have kept me from diving into this highly entertaining and delightfully written story of Emily Bard's experiences as she makes the transition from America to France.  

The abundance of open air markets fills our protagonist's head with lofty ideas of cooking French meals as though she were a practiced chef.  Some of the best tips she received came from her soon-to-be-husband, Gwendal, cooking or later the two of them cooking together.

Fortunately for her readers, Bard has sprinkled throughout the book incredibly tempting recipes, most of which do not sound extremely difficult to prepare.  The taste buds are tempted at almost every page turn.

As much as this memoir is about Emily's experience transitioning between two cultures, it is also about Emily and Gwendal's relationship and the blending of lifestyles.  European with American.  The French laissez faire attitude toward life and how it impacts others vs. the traditional schedule keeping, budget maintaining, let's talk it over before we do it attitude of a lot of American types.  This latter includes our sweet Emily.

In my own humble opinion, this was one of the lightest and most delightful travel memoirs I've read.  The structure, characterization, and simple transition from chapter to chapter made this an easy read while feeling as if the reader had been transported to Paris.  I have no hesitation in recommending it to others.

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