Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Read more...
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Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city in the 1980s. Finally, after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood.
But he soon discovered it's a different world "en France."
From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with--and even understand--this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.
When did he realize he had morphed into "un vrai parisien"? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything.
The more than fifty original recipes, for dishes both savory and sweet, such as Pork Loin with Brown Sugar-Bourbon Glaze, Braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with Prunes, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake, Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows, Chocolate Spice Bread, Lemon-Glazed Madeleines, and Mocha-Creme Fraiche Cake, will have readers running to the kitchen once they stop laughing.
"The Sweet Life in Paris" is a deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights, cheese, chocolate, and other confections.
A moveable feast: food & travel
Robert Reid is the U.S. Travel Editor for Lonely Planet. In a column written exclusively for BookPage, he highlights terrific travel books, both old and new. This month, he selects some of the best books for foodies who love to travel—or travelers who love food!
I’ve long considered the bulk of travel itineraries—going to an art museum, seeing a monument, climbing a tower for a city view—as merely “the space between meals.” It’s the food that anchors the days, be it sit-down chic off the Champs d’Elysses or 50-cent noodles on plastic stools on a cracked sidewalk in Hanoi. To eat! That is to travel.
Before you set off, there are amazing food-related travel books that cover the world or focus on some of the world’s most interesting destinations.
Food Lover’s Guide to the World is an indispensable new pictorial tour through the great cuisines of the world, including travel tips and recipes if you want to bring the world back home to your kitchen. For a more literary choice, A Moveable Feast takes the Hemingway title literally, with a collection of bite-sized essays by well-known writers focused on the tasty fusion of travel and food experiences, including contributions by Anthony Bourdain, Pico Iyer and Elizabeth Eaves.
Italy always wins for foodie travel. Beth Elon’s A Culinary Traveler in Tuscany gives 10 off-the-beaten-track, recipe-filled itineraries around Italy’s most famous food and wine region. Elon arrives in lesser-known towns, like Filattiera during its July 1-4 festival La Fame e la Sete (the hunger and the thirst), where the aroma of sizzling meats hangs over the old village square filled with tables for that night’s feast.
Italian food continues in New Yorker staff writer Bill Buford’s Heat, which gives an illuminating behind-the-scenes look at a great New York Italian restaurant. After daringly inviting celeb chef Mario Batali over for dinner, Buford signs up to be a ‘kitchen slave’ at his acclaimed restaurant Babbo. The result is a fun and intimate book, where Buford learns to butcher a hog and jets off to Italy to learn more from Batali’s former teachers.
Pastry chef David Lebovitz had wanted a Paris home address since he learned that the French clip the tips of haricots verts (green beans) before tossing them in a pot—toujours! A couple of decades later his dream came true, when he left the restaurant business in San Francisco and moved to France. Lebovitz recounts his stumbles with life as an expat in Paris, along with dozens of new French-inspired recipes, in his memoir The Sweet Life in Paris. Warning: reading Lebovitz’s story may make you book a flight to the City of Light or induce uncontrollable chocolate urges.
Robert Reid is Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor. If he could choose his last meal on Earth, it would be a picnic lunch of Vietnamese imperial rolls at Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.