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)