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How to Eat a Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time Paperback – July 3, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307984966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307984968
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“The Food Network’s loss is every reader’s gain: Amy Finley is a smart, funny writer and a really good traveling companion.  Packed into the car with Amy, her husband and two kids, you’ll see and taste France in a completely original way.  Whether you know the country well or are hoping to discover it, savoring its fare with Amy is a treat.”
 --Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table
 
“What comes first—food or family? How to Eat a Small Country is a delicious story by Amy Finley about balancing them both, and ultimately finding happiness in a country where family life still revolves around the dining table.”
--David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris
 
“An unexpected and delightful memoir. How Amy Finley slipped under the wire of Food Network and into our homes is an enduring mystery, and her tale of moving to rural France to preserve her marriage and family is a great read filled with joyous bites.”
--Anthony Bourdain

“How to Eat a Small Country shares a few key traits with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, in particular an infectiously likeable narrator and mouthwatering descriptions of European food. But Finley’s memoir is less precious, more honest, and ultimately more rewarding.”
--Boston Globe




From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

AMY FINLEY was the winner of the third season of the hit show The Next Food Network Star. After her win, she hosted Food Network’s The Gourmet Next Door. A Paris-trained cook and pastry chef, she was a regular contributor to Bon Appétit. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and their children. 


From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

AMY FINLEY was the winner of the third season of the hit show "The Next Food Network Star." After her win, she hosted Food Network's "The Gourmet Next Door." A Paris-trained cook and pastry chef, she was a regular contributor to Bon Appétit. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and their two children.

Customer Reviews

Still, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to fans of travel and foodie memoirs.
skrishna
What I found difficult was how it seemed like Amy was giving up something she loved because her husband was threatening to leave her if she didn't.
Sheri Fogarty
I just could not read it and I skipped that part once I saw what it was about and hoped for better reading in the rest of the book.
Marie Antoinette

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By PT Cruiser TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you were a fan of the Food Network and watched season 3 of the The Next Food Network Star, you're probably familiar with Amy Finly, who sent in her audition tape on a whim and ended up winning the show's competition. She was awarded her own cooking show, The Gourmet Next Door, which ran six episodes after which she walked away from the show and probably a bright future with the network. The reason was that her French born husband, Greg, was uncomfortable with her becoming a TV star and being away from him and their own two children. As you can probably imagine, this wasn't an easy thing for her to wrap her head around and as their marriage faltered, she made a suggestion to her husband one night, "Let's move to France!" France was where they had met and fallen in love, and lived for a couple of years. It is also where she attended the École Gregoire-Ferrandi culinary school in Paris.

The rest of the book is centers around their living in and touring the French countryside, eating their way through the country. If you love food, you'll love all the descriptions of the different dishes and the history of many of them. I thought I was pretty adventurous as far as trying new things, but Finly definitely has me beat with some of the foods she tried (and often enjoyed) such as tete au veau (head of veal, or more accurately the face of a calf). If you love France, you will also enjoy an inside look at some of the villages and towns they toured and know which restaurants to try.

The thing I liked best about the book was that she answered the question of why she gave up her TV career with the Food Network and gave an inside view of what was going on at the time with her family.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Rushmore VINE VOICE on February 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This genre-stretching book is part food, part travelogue, but mostly a very personal memoir of a family trying to stay together.

Readers wanting more detail of Amy Finley's stint as a reality show star will be disappointed. The book drops us right into France (the family is killing a rabbit that will be dinner). The details of how they ended up there emerge slowly and sketchily. Basically as told by Amy, she was searching for something to be proud of for herself, outside of her life as a stay-at-home mom, and she sent the audition tape on an impulse. Her husband Greg did not support her involvement in the competition or her hosting of the Food Network show that followed. Their marriage was in serious danger. Somehow they came up with a desperate and crazy plan to try to save it. Amy walked away from the Food Network, they packed up 5-year old Indiana and 2-year-old Scarlett and moved to France for several months because that was where Greg and Amy had lived after they first met and fell in love. The plan was to travel around France and sample the regional cuisine. Amy would cook and in the process the family would become whole again.

At its deepest heart, this is the story of a family. Amy does not stint on the details or pretty it up. They are in most ways a very average family. Their children have tantrums. Amy's relationship with her mom is a serious issue in the marriage. Amy has panic attacks. She and Greg bicker. They discuss divorce. Amy's sister visits, ostensibly to be a nanny for the children, but it's really just a way to get to Europe so she can go vagabonding and check out all the cool places.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By wiggins on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I don't even know where to begin with this review. I'm just so confused. On the one hand, it was scattered, confusing, irritating, and disgusting. On the other hand, I couldn't stop reading! It's like watching 24/7 coverage of the latest celebrity to spiral out of control - I just couldn't look away!

This book is about Amy Finley's life after she walked away from her very own show on the Food Network after winning Season 3 of the Next Food Network Star. Pressured from her husband and wanting to save her marriage, Amy quits her show and heads home to San Diego. She suggests they pack up and move to France for 6 months. Don't be mistaken: other than a couple paragraphs here and there, this book is NOT about her time on the show.

The book skips from topic to topic, jumping from family troubles to commentary on the French people and places to commentary on French cuisine. I couldn't keep up with the constant change of topic. I also couldn't keep up with the locations -publisher, could you throw a map in there somewhere? Thanks.

I don't at all understand what drives Amy. She was afraid of everything except the food. She was scared to go to France and scared to go back home. She was scared to plan family outings. She was afraid of taking her kids anyplace alone. She was also very mean. At one point Greg is choking down bouillabaisse and she's gloating that he's miserable. "It serves him right, I think." Yeesh.

The meanness and selfishness continue unabated right up to the end of the book. At one point Amy states something to the effect that "Greg didn't make me quit the show, I wanted to quit the show." Huh? Are we just supposed to believe it because she says it?
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