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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Passion (and food) in Paris

This book landed one day in our letterbox and we thought, hmmm, not another gastro tour through the great city. But this is truly insightful, intelligent and at times funny (though, ok, we got a bit lost on some of the references to American culture) and it is pepperered with luscious recipes. Here are some highlights from the book that caught our eye:

1. So, who knew (this is an aside gleaned from the book) that the Mona Lisa has a ganglion cyst on her thumb (look carefully at her portrait and you will see it!).

2. Check out the author's thoughts on French women who pick at their food (and what might that say about their sex lives?????)

3. A great tip for getting willowy souffles: "Everyone wants her souffles (oops, don't mind the incorrect use of the pronoun here, the proof editing has missed a few typos in our copy, and moving on swiftly....) to reach towering heights. Our friend Virginie has an interesting trick. When you butter the sides of the ramekin, use vertical strokes, going from bottom to top. It helps the souffle "crawl" up the sides as it bakes".

4. And to finish off, this is an example of why we found this book such a beautiful read: "I ordered a salad with smoked salmon. I know that doesn't sound like a particularly decadent repast,  but it is. That's because the French long ago mastered the art of serving salad so it doesn't feel like a punishment for something. There are always a few caramel-crusted potatoes on your salade niçoise, or a plump chicken liver  or two bedded down in a nest of lamb's lettuce. Or your salad might be topped with what is called a tartine - a large thin slice of country bread (Poilâne if you are lucky) topped with anything from melted goat cheese to shrimp and avocado.
My lunch arrived, a well-worn wooden planche heaped with pillowy green lettuce, folded in a creamy, cloudy, mustardy vinaigrette. Balanced on top were three half slice of pain Poilâne, spread with the merest millimeter of butter, topped with coral folds of salmon."

Click on the cover to find out more. Available to purchase through TripFiction and local bookstores

Share your favourite books that are especially evocative of Paris with us here in the Comments Box.


  1. Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti mysteries - wonderful descriptions of life in Venice, especially the food and the markets.

    Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street books - Edinburgh's New Town, - Cyril the dog finding his way home by following the aroma of sun-dried tomatoes from Valvonna & Crolla.

    Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady - life on a small island off the Canadian coast fifty years ago.

    Tales of The City - Armistead Maupin - San Francisco in the 1970s, beautifully evoked.

  2. Thank you for the great titles! DM us your details and we will pop Lunch in Paris in the post to you.

  3. Thank you very much for the book - it looks great, and my daughters are keen to read it too.

    I've thought of another one: The Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff - a seaside holiday at Bognor in the 1920s. It's one of my favourite books, a superficially simple story of a Clapham family and their annual two weeks staying in a boarding house and hiring a beach hut on the sands. Here is a link:

    And one more:

    A Cold Month for Murder by Dana Stabenow - a murder mystery set in the Alaskan national park. The policewoman, Kate Shugak, is an Inuit, and the details of life in 'the park' are fascinating - transport mainly by skidoo, constantly up against the elements - a different world.

    Thanks again,

    Rosemary Kaye

  4. Wow, thank you. Great suggestions, we really value suggestions and reviews from our supporters!