I took one look at this cover, then started smiling like a Cheshire cat. MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING, by Ann Mah, is simply delightful, delicious, delectable.
Anyone who reads my blog already knows how much I love anything French. And this is all about French food. And it’s a great way to learn about the background and history of some of the areas surrounding Paris.
When Ann Mah found herself living mostly alone in the City of Light for one year, she decided to make the most of it by visiting nearby towns and pinpointing certain important foods that France is known for. All this, after she got done sobbing hysterically as her husband Calvin, an American diplomat, left the city for his next tour of duty: Baghdad, for one year with a few weeks respite from time to time.
Ann, with her journalist background, picked herself up, dusted herself off, and was lucky enough to fall into the perfect job for her: working at the American library in Paris. Ann was also supposed to be working on a novel.
Each day Ann and Calvin were able to be in touch through Skype. I happen to think this is amazing. I am from the Viet Nam generation when computers were not even around. Receiving a letter from the bunkers was a time of great celebration even though it was most often months old. Being able to share each day with your spouse seems amazing. Calvin encouraged Ann to begin traveling to areas of interest that tied in with the significance of the French foods she was experiencing. Hence, this book began to take root.
You’re certain to enjoy the stories involved with each area. My favorite adventure takes place when Ann visits Provence. Provence, itself, provides enough lavender and rustic scenery to make a story, but, Ann is on a mission. She’s about to finally learn an authentic recipe for soupe au pistou. So far, Ann’s attempts to make this elusive dish have fallen fall short. She signs up to work with a bevy of local women to make the soupe for a party that occurs each summer. And here Ann learns the secret to making real soupe au pistou. The camaraderie, the fresh local vegetables, and her own keen sense of learning, gave Ann a recipe for something she and Calvin will always cherish. And, lucky us, the recipe is in this book.
In Brittany Ann learns crepes. In Lyon it’s Salade Lyonnaise. In Toulouse it’s Cassoulet. Each chapter ends with a fabulous recipe of the targeted dish. You are going to love this! Plus, Ann brings the history of each food and area. And I think you’ll love meeting the cast of characters she comes in contact with along the way.
So, you get to experience the streets of Paris, and then visit many of the most interesting and gorgeous towns of France, and you get recipes. That’s as good as it gets.
Ann Mah writes with her heart. And she’s in love with France. It shows. She’s lovingly brought us a story of that love and I can’t wait to see what she’s coming up with next.
My beautiful finished hardcover of MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING by Ann Mah came compliments of Viking, and Pamela Dorman books. Thank you so much. The opinions are all mine. I love it!