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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Great new book

My friend Ann just wrote a wonderful memoir—Mastering the Art of French Eating—which came out today. I read it while breastfeeding Anton this summer, and it's one of those books that makes you pause to daydream while you're reading. She's a funny, sweet and disarming writer, and I got swept up on her journey.

Here's her story: Ann was thrilled when her husband was given a diplomatic assignment in Paris. Two years of stinky cheese, romantic dinners, road trips...she couldn't believe her good fortune. But right after they arrived in Paris, her husband was called away for a yearlong post in Iraq—alone—and she was left to find a life for herself in a new city. At first, she was lonely (she describes turning on all the lamps at home to make the rooms feel cozier; "the hours until dinner and bedtime stretched before me dry and uncompromising," she recalls), but then she had an idea. She could spend her time in France—traveling to small towns and meeting crazy chefs, farmers and restaurateurs—to discover the history and secrets behind the country's incredible signature dishes, from boeuf bourguignon to buckwheat crêpes.

Mastering the Art of French Eating is part funny memoir, part cookbook, part historical essays and part love story. (She describes her husband so sweetly; even though we know him, it was so lovely to see him through her eyes.)

It's such a wonderful book! If you like Julia Child or Amanda Hesser or Peter Mayle, this book will be up your alley. I loved it and would highly recommend it. Congratulations, Ann!
Are you reading anything good these days?

(Bottom photo by Valeria Schettino)

74 comments:

Erin said...

I've been looking forward to reading this! I love Peter Mayle, and anything French, haha. I'm actually reading a great historical non-fiction about the renovation of Paris in the 1850s-60s under the Napolen III/Haussmann era, "Paris Reborn" by Stephane Kirkland. Such a fascinating read and not dry at all!

Megan @ Pink O'Clock said...

I can't wait to read this!

Sarah Zindt said...

I just started reading Brain on Fire and really like it so far!

Start Up said...

As a french girl, I'd highly recommand an... american author : Laura Kasischke. The Raising for instance... So great !

Jesse said...

oh sounds right up my alley and coming exactly when i need a new book. thanks for the recommendation!
http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2013/09/pumpkin-pie-millkshake.html

Grace Beekman said...

Ah! What a story! Alone in such a big but exciting city! So glad you shared this book! I'll have to pick it up! :)

http://sometimesgracefully.com

Erin said...

It sounds like a great read. I also enjoyed your recommendation "Where'd you go, Bernadette?", and just found out that the author is a friend of my best friend, whose son goes to the same school in Seattle (which is funny if you know how much the book centers around that school). Small world!

Maddy from MPDaily said...

Looks like another one to add to my list...after I finishing The Interestings...and The Man Repeller.

Pamela said...

omg, you know ann mah?? i loveeeeed "kitchen chinese." oh wow!

Michelle Panting said...

This looks awesome. I loved Julie and Julia and the graphic novel French Milk that you recommended, so I'm sure I'd love this too.

http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

Lisette said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I will have to check this out!

Sarah said...

I've recommended it before, but Joanna, you MUST read Julia Child's 'My Life in France.' You will love!

I'm going to pick this one up after work, thanks for the rec!

toandfromage.com said...

I so deeply heart french food memoirs. I think I spend some portion of every fall reading a new one, so thanks for the rec. Funnily, I was just writing a post for tomorrow on how french food memoirs sparked my love of breakfast radishes.

Mrs Mason said...

The Night Circus is very special.

Cozette said...

Joanna - I recommend & I think you will really enjoy: "Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal" :)

Stephanie Lam said...

The book sounds so fun! Does it give locations for the restaurants she ate at?

-Stephanie
@LaminLouboutins.com

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

This sounds fantastic! Love Julia and these seems like the perfect little escape!

palecetacean.com said...

Sounds like a fun read. Thanks for recommending it!

Scout and Rice said...

Totally opposite to this style of book, but I just started reading Doctor Sleep, the Stephen King sequel to The Shining. I'm so excited this book has come out, the first time I read The Shining over a decade ago I was waiting for a sequel. :)

Kate said...

I enjoyed the Night Circus, too. Really fuels your imagination.

Joanna, I was thinking you would like The Unknowns (Gabe Roth). Very entertaining read, would be a good nursing-book. (I devoured books on my nook those early months!)

Ai said...

This looks great! I love French cuisine, Julia Child, and that movie Julie and Julia so I think this is right up my alley :)

Jody Bailey said...

This looks great! I'm currently in the middle of reading "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain, and next up is "Bringing Up Bebe", so this goes perfectly with the Parisian theme I have going.

ouhlacopieuse said...

Miam :)

Nicole Lahy said...

Ohh this book sounds so perfect. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for posting this! I read The Paris Wife (about Ernest Hemingway's first wife) recently and loved it.

Marie (Mrs. Dalrymple) said...

Thanks for the great suggestion. This book sounds like it's right up my alley. I'm currently reading Simon Doonan's new book "The Asylum", which I'm loving.

Nari said...

This has been on my wish-list for months. Good to know its finally been published!

I love the cover for this book. Am I the only one who thinks this would make a great print to hang in the kitchen? Any book about Paris has a fabulous cover that would ideal to hang somewhere in the house...

www.thenovelworld.com

Christy said...

I'm a sucker for a good travel memoir. Thanks for the recommendation. xx

MrJeffery said...

i need to read this eventually. reading jhumpa lahiri's new book right now. very good.

Patricija said...

I just realized my fave books are always about France and food. Oh well, gonna check Amazon and read this incredible book :)

JeanneW said...

I can't imagine arriving in France with my husband suddenly having to leave for a year! Ann Mah really sounds like she turned a potentially negative situation into a positive one.

Also another vote for Jhumpa Lahiri's books.

blancapate.com said...

I second this!! I picked up the book in an airport last year on a whim and it's now one of my favorite books!!! Julia's story somewhat reminds me of the way you described Ann's - I think you'd love it!!

I will definitely have to add this book to my reading list, thank you!!! :)

jm said...

I definitely want to read this - and then cook (and eat) French food!

Fleur De Moi said...

Totally just downloading the audiobook so I can listen to it this weekend while driving cross country! So pumped!!!

Crys said...

I am just so glad that someone else literally finished novels while breastfeeding rather than stared "lovingly into their newborn's eyes"....I'm sorry but sometimes being a mom is boring and doesn't always stimulate your brain. Thanks for making me feel better as I breastfeed my second baby!

C. Johnson said...

I adore books about France and French cooking! Thanks for the recommendation. Definitely adding this to my list!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

This sounds like it's right up my ally! I can't wait to read it!

KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

Yheanne said...

Yes I am! Thanks to you, I learned about Bringing Up Bebe!

www.yheannediary.blogspot.com

Elizabeth said...

This book sounds wonderful, and I can't wait to get my hands on it! I love reading about other peoples journeys and transformation, and find that the inspiration trickles down into my own life as well. Thank you for sharing!

XO,
Elizabeth
www.tonicofwildness.com

Big Name Brand said...

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new
stuff you post.

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beach handbag said...

I read your post such a nice work here. i am very enjoy take your food...!

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Michelle Ash Latham said...

Oooh, I love travel memoirs, and I'm always on the look out for new ones -- they don't come around that often, so this is especially exciting for me!
Can't wait to read it!

Jaime said...

My library ordered this book on my request. Eagerly waiting for my notification that it's in!

Mina said...

Funny. She got pushed into (by life itself) doing exactly what I've always dreamed of willingly doing! So cool! Will definitely look into reading this. Thanks for the recommendation and brief intro to the book. Sounds like a terrific read! : )

Jenny McL said...

The sea the sea ........ Iris Murdoch brilliant

M said...

You should check out Paris I love you, but you're bringing me down by Rosecrans Baldwin

Mallory said...

Well, my husband just deployed, and even though I've got our 8 month old son to keep me company, I get lonely. I hardly ever impulse buy ANYTHING (even a good book - I usually just add it to my library list) but I just bought this without a second thought. Thank you Joanna :)

Maiken Day said...

Yes! I am reading "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." It's wonderful.

Ann Cundy said...

[Squeal]. This sounds literally and figuratively delicious. Can't wait to read it!

Ann Cundy said...

[Squeal]. This sounds literally and figuratively delicious. Can't wait to read it!

Bucktown Mom said...

I'm reading "Orange is the New Black." It's fantastic so far!

Cydney Helsdown said...

i need a good read so i'm glad you posted this. it sounds wonderful already, i crave to experience Paris one day so maybe i can live vicariously through this book

collette said...

I'm a bit behind the curve, since it came out in 2008, but I enjoyed "What Alice Forgot". Now, it's "Love and Logic" books so I can out negotiate tantrums.

fancyalterego said...

I'm a fan of Peter Mayle, so I will definitely check this one out! I need a nice, light read that might also inspire me to cook more. :-)

Joy said...

Yay!! I'm a bit of a Francophile and I love food and I REALLY love a good memoir!! This sounds perfect -- just the kind of thing I was looking for!

Amanda said...

Thanks for the recommendation - we just got back from a week and Paris and this might help fill the void of all the French food I'm missing right now :)

Mal said...

This book sounds so wonderful! I'll have to pick it up soon.

Mal @ The Chic Geek

Emily said...

I just finished reading Serena last night. So captivating - and my brain is still trying to figure out how I feel about how it all went down. This book sounds like a delightful swing in the other direction emotion-wise.

mw said...

My Berlin Kitchen and a Homemade Life

mw said...

My Berlin Kitchen and a Homemade Life

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MegFeller said...

I am really wanting to read this. It sounds fascinating, but it is not out in England yet. I will have to keep an eye out for it!

Dr. Shandra Short said...

Nice article! You definitely did a good job of explaining this issue really clearly Planung Hochzeit

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Elle said...

Am really looking forward to reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, The Signature of All Things. The female Victorian botanical geek twist sounds just like what I want to read right now, and in EG's hands, I'm sure it'll be a great read.

Michelle Lee said...

great post!

pinklemonincrystal.blogspot.com

Luna said...

Totally sounds like a book I would read. Hopefully will check it out soon!

Wendy Wainwright said...

As an army wife I'm all too aware of finding oneself suddenly alone in unforeseen circumstances. I'll have to read this book, commiseration, and then put any ideas on my list of things to do for the next time my husband deploys!

Daniela Pittiglio said...

This book is on my wishing list on Amazon and I was waiting for the publishing day!!! Fortunately here it is your post! Thanks for alerting me since Amazon didn't do it….. :(

Ashiq Rahman said...

Hi,

I am very impressed after reading through parts of your blog. With your cooking skills I think you could be interested in this competition I have found. You cook your national dish and then you have the opportunity to win an iPad mini or money. It could also be a good chance for you to let more people know about your blog since you will be shown on their homepage and in a cookbook!
Here's the presentation about the competition:
Competition: Win iPad or Money
And here's their facebook page:
Facebook Page

I hope you will be win..

Thanks

bethnmakeup said...

I tried a sample from amazon. It is a wonderful book. I am downloading the full version. I think I will be reading it more than once!

megan said...

I'll be adding this to the book list:)

Laura D said...

I'll add this to the to-read list, sounds really interesting

http://greenmountainglobetrotter.blogspot.com/

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