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The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City Paperback – March 1, 2011
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is Lebowitz's only non-cookbook and it's quite interesting. After the death of his partner, he decided to start his life anew and move to Paris. The majority of the book focuses on a menagerie of trials and tribulations that he has had over the last six years adapting to a new life, and new culture. I think at times, we all have fantasized about picking up and moving to another country. Lebowitz points out many things that we don't consider during these day dreams, like the difficulty of getting peanut butter or adapting to much smaller living spaces.
The book is only 304 pages, and many of those are recipes. Each chapter ranges from 3 to 10 pages, making it the perfect book to read on the beach, or a rainy weekend while fantasizing about being on a beach. It would be a horrible book to read while you are on a diet. Lebowitz is a consummate blogger, has experience as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse, and has written several cookbooks so he knows how to write about food in a way that makes you want to eat whatever he is talking about. His descriptions of the cheeses of France had me pricing plane tickets to Charles de Gaulle airport.
There were a few things I did not care for. The writing is not outstanding, and I felt like he focused on the difficulties of moving to Paris more than the wonderful things. I also wish that the recipes at the end of the chapter had been more relevant to the content of the chapter. I would strongly suggest reading this with a computer nearby so you can translate some of the French. There were several times where I understood the gist of what he was saying in context, but I really wanted to know what the actual words meant.
Overall, if you are interested in Paris, or just a fan of Lebowitz, this is worth a read. It is certainly not a large time commitment, and with lots of short chapters, there is bound to be a few anecdotes that you will enjoy. Note: My favorite was the one about his difficulties learning the language.
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