Whenever I go to the library, I browse the NEW shelf for any food-related books. Whether they are works of fiction, memoirs, or cookbooks, no food book is overlooked. Some I flip through quickly and put right back since they just don’t appeal to me. But many take a trip home with me…Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard is one of those that won such an all expenses paid trip. At first, I was a bit turned off by the cover since it looked like a pure chick lit book…however the synopsis looked promising.
The book turned out to be a cute memoir about an American who meets and falls in love with a man in Paris. She moves to Paris to live with him and eagerly dives into her new life.
As I made my way down the street, a man shoved a strawberry in my path. “Mademoiselle, goute, goute” (taste, taste), he said, trying to catch my eye. This was not the French I learned in high school. It was loud and fast and filled with the guttural click of Arabic. “Ca va, princesse?” He handed me a slice of melon, broke open a pod of sweet peas. I knew it was ridiculous, but after two years in England, it felt so good to hear this caressing tone of voice, to smile and lower my eyes, even if the guy was just trying to sell me a tomato.
Bard soon learns of the cultural differences of life in Paris vs. the United States. She wonders why her husband and other Parisians don’t have a go-getter attitude and just settle for the status quo, but meanwhile she flounders while searching for the perfect job.
The book takes place over a time period of 8 years…from when Bard meets her future husband, Gwendal, up to a few years after they’re married. Food is an integral part of the story. Bard tells of the first meal that she shared with Gwendal. Each chapter has 2-3 recipes at the end for dishes inspired by the events she has written about in that chapter.
Lunch in Paris was a quick & easy read. It is a good escapist read for anyone who fantasizes about spending their days browsing in Parisian markets and cooking up dishes with their finds. If you are looking for a hard-core foodie read, this may not be the best selection for you. I wouldn’t say that I learned anything new about food from this book, but I did enjoy reading the recipes she included with each chapter. I was tempted to cook a few but will be returning the book to the library tomorrow and haven’t had a chance to cook any of the recipes yet! I just may have to take out the book from the library again to get a chance to try out some of the recipes.