Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris
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on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
... You're there. This is a delightful little book for the homesick Francophile. If that describes you, expect to devour it in a day or two. And even if you have already read a dozen or more in the genre, I believe you'll find a fresh approach in Ms. Mah's "journal."

She not only covers the specialties and uniqueness of my favorite regions, Paris, Provence and Burgundy, but several I have not had the opportunity to visit -- Alsace, for example. And with each area, she provides the definitive recipe for and history of their signature dish. (All this time I've topped my Cassoulet with bread crumbs! Quelle horror!) Her recipe for Boeuf Bourguignonnne is the classic bacon and mushroom version, but she teases the reader with the mention of "a fine stew" she was served in Beaune, "sparked with the tang of ginger and orange peel," something I intend to copy at the first opportunity. And I can't wait to try my hand, once again, at "Aligot," this time using her suggestion of fresh mozzarella as a substitute for the unavailable "tome fraiche."

So while this is not a cookbook in form, but a most enjoyable travel journal, I am praying for an imminent break in our present Colorado heatwave so I can prepare several of her mouth-watering sounding French classics
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VINE VOICEon September 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Ann Mah and her diplomate husband get a dream assignment to Paris. Three years in the city of lights is a recipe for heaven to foodie Ann until her husband is sent off to Iraq for a year on an unaccompanied tour. Ann, lonely and shy, must learn to deal with this and this book is part of her solution. Ann visits 10 regions in France and delves into the signature dish of each area. If your taste buds aren't deficient, you should be drooling by this time. At the end of each region is the recipe for that signature dish. Having lived in Paris myself, I can understand Ann's dilemma but I think her solution is brilliant. She finds a job and then travels the different regions of France in search of the "real" thing in a signature dish. Try the recipe on page 226 for Boeuf a la Bourguignonne...yummmmmmmmmmm.
My advice about this book is , Buy it, Cook with it and enjoy. Bon Appetite!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having read quite a few food and cooking oriented books written by food authors who were also chefs, I find this book is unique as author Ann Mah. She is a less adventurous eater and more like the rest of us. I feel that her research of this book, is done in a way, that addresses those of us that don't know the history of area or the recipe being discussed. so I get more out of her approach. I don't know my history (much less France's) and this was delivered in such a way, not to be facts and figures, but the local stories that made up the past of an area.

Ann Mah, had a unique opportunity to live in the city of her dreams, but unfortunately not the way she envisioned it. Instead with her husband miles away in Bagdad she found herself spending this time alone. Fortunately for us she has made the best of it and taken the opportunity to pursue her fascination of French cooking. I find her unique situation (being of Chinese heritage, but being American), while having a nomadic experience in other countries fascinating. I never thought how awkward that could be in China, looking like a local, while clearly not being one. It seems less of an issue for American's in Europe. The irony of this displacement while pursuing the food heritage of a country, is not lost on the reader. So much of who we are is what we eat. The comfort foods of each generation are often passed down and define us. I found this especially pertinent in the section she discusses Alsatian food. Clearly though the area was passed between German and France several times and languages were mandated, the food was unaffected.

Each time I have traveled, it has been the food of the area that has stayed with me. That unique taste that when I recall it takes me back to that place and time. Ann Mah has captured that.
This book is not just a travelogue of food in Paris and France, but that slice of life that was hers at that time. You felt her isolation, insecurity in her adopted language, concern for local custom and awkwardness of meeting new people. You also felt her joy in living in France along with the way of life there. And I for one am thankful she shared it.
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VINE VOICEon September 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I read Ann Mah's "Mastering the Art of French Eating" on the heels of The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France and Coquilles, Calva and Crème: Exploring France's Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair wtih Real French Food; I spent three weeks touring France last fall, so was a bit nostalgic for the various flavors I encountered from south to north as I made my way from Toulouse through the Perigord Noir, the Loire Valley, Normandy and finally Paris. Mah's husband, a diplomat, lands a plum assignment to Paris: three years together to explore the city and its many boulangeries, cafes, and markets. An aspiring food writer, Ann is thrilled with the possibilities. They find an apartment and unpack the many boxes that have lived for years in storage (due to her husband's assignments, they have moved around frequently). But the unthinkable happens: her husband is called away to Iraq on a one-year unaccompanied tour, leaving Ann to navigate an unfamiliar language and city.

During her year on her own, she traces the origin of various French specialties by heading straight for the source: AAAAA andouillette in Troyes, crepes in Brittany, cassoulet in Toulouse, pistou in Provence, boeuf Bourguignon in Burgundy. Beautifully written and with touches of humor, each chapter concludes with the star recipe that it focuses on. And yes, you'll find healthy sprinklings of wisdom from Julia throughout. There are fascinating cultural tidbits (and lots of dashes of local customs and lore) that serve to spice up the individual stories and portraits of individual regions. And much like a long-simmered cassoulet, all of these elements form a delicious whole.
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on September 28, 2013
I am currently enjoying this immensely, Ann's adventures are identical to my own secret desire to live in France. Thanks to her I discovered the mystery to Andouillette AAAAA. We tried it in Paris, being highly recommended by the waiter, and although my husband ate it, I could barely stay at the table - it is definitely an acquired taste (and smell).

Through her descriptions I feel like I am almost there.
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on November 19, 2013
It's NOT a love story. There are no "lessons in love" to be had. The details from her food trips are good, but whenever she goes back into talking about using Skype to talk with her husband or whining about not having friends, I'm super bored and annoyed.
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on September 26, 2013
Mastering the Art of French eating is a delicious blend of memoir, history, travelogue and vivid food writing. Ann Mah has a fantastic way with food description. She achieves a satisfying weave of the personal and the and the "informational." Each chapter focuses on a dish from a different region of France, detailing Ann's personal discovery of that food and then taking you to its region of origin. The depth of flavor is captivating! I don't want to give too much of Ann's own story away, but will say that she is a marvelous and winning guide through French regional cuisine. And, as her title suggests, she feels both a kinship and a respect for Julia Child that infuses the whole book with wisdom and sweet gratitude for the pleasures of the table.
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on September 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A very personal experience about living in France, Ann Mah has written a charming memoir about relocating to Paris only to find out that her foreign service husband has been called away to Iraq, leaving them with Skype visits and Ann alone to eat and explore her way through the city and beyond. I know what it is like to land in another country and be alone - in my case it was Rome - and even though you have open air markets and cafes and restaurants at your disposal, there is an aching loneliness that pervails, so I thoroughly enjoyed reading about how she adapted to the circumstances and, being a journalist, she set out to about French cuisine and write about her discoveries. Mah does a magnificent job, taking the reader along on her journeys to the regions as she describes the local speciality and offers up the recipe at the end of each section. Beautiful, enjoyable, and heart warming, this is a unique book on the much-written about the country and its food.
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VINE VOICEon November 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
I definitely enjoyed the food portion of this story. How the chapters were focused on a particular region or food that represents the culture of France. Because of this (and many other) book, I really want to spend a good, long time overseas exploring France's culture and cuisine.

What I wasn't the biggest fan of was the young wife's moping. Truly, I understand what it is to miss a loved one, especially when he's posted in a place you cannot visit. There's nothing like actually having said loved one in the same city, same residence as you. However, quit your complaining. Because of your husband's job, you've gotten to live in amazing places, you don't have to work and you can spend your time exploring a country, eating your way across the land.

However, her passion for food and for France is readily apparent in her writing, making the book an enjoyable read.
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on November 1, 2013
I loved Ann Mah's book for a number of reasons. First of all, I love traveling and eating. You don't have to live in France or be a francophile to enjoy her mouthwatering descriptions of the food or her tales of traveling through the gorgeous country that is France. Her love of the people and the country is evident. As I read the book, I could perfectly envision the places and the people, and even though my particular situation is very different, I understand many of the feelings she expressed in the book because they are universal- joy, longing, insecurity, inclusion, exclusion...

I also love this book because it is the perfect blend of memoir and information. I like to follow a story as I read, and the way she intersperses her personal story with history and culture is well balanced. Her subjects are well researched and connect naturally to her personal story. On top of that, Ann Mah is a likeable person. She is humorous, warm, and honest.
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