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The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City Hardcover – May 5, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
The title of the fifth book from Lebovitz, celebrated pastry chef and Chez Panisse alum, is a bit of a misnomer: this feisty memoir-with-recipes is just as tart as it is sweet. Writing with the same cheeky tone that has made his blog one of the most popular food sites on the Internet, Lebovitz presents an eclectic collection of vignettes illustrating his experiences living as an expatriate in Paris. After reading accounts of perpetually out-of-service public toilets and hospitals that require patients to BYOB (bring your own bandages), one begins to question what, exactly, Lebovitz finds so intoxicating about the City of Lights. It certainly isn't something in the water, but it just might be in le chocolat chaud. With this book, for the first time Lebovitz expands beyond his standard repertoire of desserts and includes a smattering of savory recipes. These range from such classic French dishes as a warm goat cheese salad to nostalgic American favorites like oven-roasted pork ribs with ketchup marinade. This is not to say Lebovitz's legions of sweet-toothed fans will be disappointed—many of the 50 recipes are made with plenty of butter and sugar; a flawless rendition of dulce de leche brownies is sure to become the home baker's equivalent of that très chic little black dress, returned to again and again. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
American baker Lebovitz, alumnus of California’s famed Chez Panisse, moved to Paris following his partner’s untimely death. There he found a culture whose rituals and courtesies mystified him. It took him a while to get used to personally greeting every clerk and shopkeeper, to consuming every morsel of food using both fork and knife, and to coping with an uncommonly wily bureaucracy fond of enforcing self-contradictory regulations. He discovered the social necessity of pressing every wrinkle out of his clothes, even from his jeans and his towels. Recipes dominate the text, many of them Lebovitz’s signature chocolate dessert creations. Some of these pastries display their Parisian provenance, an absinthe cake in particular standing out. But he also includes popular Mexican mole and crispy pork carnitas, about as exotic to most Parisians as one could imagine. An annotated list of food and equipment sources brims with good information. --Mark Knoblauch
Top customer reviews
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It took me a long time to read this book, not because of the writing, but because of the exceptional writing. The book is full of gems that you'll want to highlight, not to mention the numerous recipes that make me wish I had the physical book and not the Kindle version. To those who love to cook--especially desserts--get the hardcover book!
David writes straight out about what it's like for an American with a smattering of French language skills to pick up and move to France. He dove into the culture, the people, the place and made his own way. He admits to the mistakes he made and the corrective lessons the French were only too happy to provide.
If you think a relocation is in your future, I'd say to read this book and ponder what you'll really be up against--and the delightful gifts you'll receive.
Here's a quote from near the end of the book: "What helped was that I understand the food and tried my best to adapt to the culture, rather than trying to make the culture adapt to me. More important, though, I learned to take the time to get to know people, especially the vendors and merchants, who would patiently explain their wares to me."
He's all about learning and learning some more and waking up the next day to learn again. And there's a lesson we all need to cling to.
If you are looking for descriptions of the "tourist" Paris of museums, gardens, art, this isn't the book for you. Leibovitz focuses on the ordinary, day-to-day, experiences that we all might have living in a city. Renting a new apartment, shopping for everyday objects, dealing with crowds and a foreign language.
Add to this that Leibovitz is a patissier, a pastry chef, and much of the book revolves around food. Homemade food, searching for ingredients. And there are recipes at the end of every chapter. Most of which I won't try because (a) I am trying to lose 20 pounds and (b) I don't have the ingredients or the kitchen equipment to make them.
I may however try the dulche de leche brownies one day.... And maybe the chocolate cake....
I loved how Lebovitz tells how he realized he was finally un vrai parisien. It was not a big day, but a simple day, the day he dressed up to take out his garbage. How we all want to live in a world where everyone dresses up to take out the garbage!
The best part, of course, is David's take on Paris treats. David is, of course, an expert on pastries, so who better to take us around Paris and share pastry gossip?
An absolutely delicious book, filled with stories about those amazing sweets of Paris. With recipes.
After reading the book, I found his website, and saw that he is still living in Paris making a living leading a life he loves. And for that I say, "Bravo!"