The act of reading ... begins on a flat surface, counter or page, and then gets stirred and chopped and blended until what we make, in the end, is a dish, or story, all our own.
— Adam Gopnik

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August 7, 2018

A Bite-Sized History of France

This very readable, very enjoyable book was my bus and lunch-hour companion, on and off, for much of July, and a treat to read. (I also read on Twitter that Scott Simon from NPR and his family were reading it aloud to each other during their vacation in Paris, and that made it even more charming for me.)

It's written by a married couple, a 'dilettante French cheesemonger' and his American wife,  and it's literally bite-sized, with about 50 short chapters each connecting a food, drink, or a trend -- oysters, fleur du sel, liqueurs, bread, mustard, cheese, chestnuts, eating vegetables out of season, nouvelle cuisine, sauces, chocolate, wines -- with a place, an event, a historical trend, or a historical figure, beginning with the Gauls and continuing almost to the present. If reading about French food and wine weren't enough, it's the kind of history I often enjoy most, where historical events or periods are connected with everyday life.

This book has just been published by The New Press.  I read an advance copy courtesy of NetGalley.

A bite-sized history of France: gastronomic tales of revolution, war and enlighten ment, by Stéphane Henaut and Jeni Mitchell
The New Press, 2018
Previewed via NetGalley


JoAnn said...

I failed Paris in July miserably this year, but love the sound of this one. Guess it's time to start a list of possibilities for next year ;-)

JaneGS said...

I wish I had known about this book before my Paris trip. I like the idea of reading it while there! BTW, I am a big fan of Scott Simon--one of the best voices in radio, and so eloquent.

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