Mastering the Art of French Eating

Mastering the Art of French EatingMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in ParisMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah by Ann Mah

Despite how it may seem, I really do hate to be bossy about things, but I’m still going to just tell you: if you are at all interested in food memoirs, food history, cross-cultural living, or adventures in Paris (any or all of those that apply), you need to read this book: it was lovely, and I was sad to finish it.

Mah is a foreign service wife – her husband the one with the foreign service career, and she’s the trailing spouse. Adjusting to that life, where her career continually has to restart in a new location, is behind some of the events that led to this book.

Many food memoirs attempt to tackle an entire life, and while Mah does mention some events from her childhood and adult experiences, the bulk of the book focuses on the year she spent in Paris without her husband, who was sent to a post in Iraq where spouses could not follow.

Structurally, I enjoyed Mah’s approach, where she focused on a different region of France and one of the food specialties of that area. Each section includes a recipe for the dish described, and several of them had me wishing I could travel there to experience the meal as it was intended (like that potato dish that can’t be precisely recreated in the U.S., because we can’t get the right kind of cheese).

It might not seem like it should work – integrating her chronological experiences in Paris into the structure of 10 regions and 10 dishes, but it absolutely did. That the account was so readable and compelling all combined to make it one of my favorite reads for the year.

Highly recommended.

Publisher’s Description:
The memoir of a young diplomat’s wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris—one dish at a time

When journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down.

So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

Like Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French and Julie Powell’s New York Times bestseller Julie and Julia, Mastering the Art of French Eating is interwoven with the lively characters Ann meets and the traditional recipes she samples. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story about love—of food, family, and France.

Book Details

Title: Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in ParisMastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris by Ann Mah
Author: Ann Mah
Category: Nonfiction / Memoir
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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Comments

  1. Sounds great! Just put it on hold at my library. 🙂

  2. Yup. Adding this one ASAP!

  3. This sounds delightful! Definitely pinning to my “to read” list!

  4. I immediately added this book to my to read list on Good Reads!! Sounds like a book I would LOVE!

  5. You’ve sold me! I’m adding it to my summer reading list. =) I love a good food memoir.

    • They are some of my favorites, if that’s not already obvious by how many I’ve written about. 🙂

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