The Kitchen Reader

My mother reads – a lot. And when she is finished with her books I get to choose which ones I want to read. One of the ones she had was:


For some reason she had started buying foodie books, and I was beginning to enjoy them. This was before I started food blogging. Before I met other foodies and food bloggers. And the more I read the more I began to appreciate food and what it was all about.

This book, and one of the first bloggers I began to follow – A Daily Obsession – introduced me to the possiblility of doing my own blog. After reading the book, I found Julie’s blog and started reading and thinking.

But you want to know about the book. I have to tell you, I really enjoyed it. Lively, sweet, busy, fun, interesting, tasty, intriguing. The story of a young woman living in a small apartment in NYC who borrowed her Mom’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child and decided to cook her way throught the entire tome of recipes. Quite an undertaking considering the complexity of some of the recipes. And the itty bitty kitchen she had to work in. She garnered quite a following while blogging about her experiences and it was from that I discovered foodies and their blogs.

What she went through just to find some of the ingredients was funny and gross and scary all at the same time. And how she described some of the dishes before, during, and after are just hilarious. And I would tell you about them, but that would ruin the fun. You just have to read the book. The movie doesn’t do it justice as it is actually a combination of this book and “My life in France” by Julia Child.

Or visit the other members of The Kitchen Reader and read their reviews. They all enjoyed the book too. Trust me. You will love it.

I remember doing the dreaded Book Reports in school. Always on books no one wanted to read. Books that the teacher put on the list because she, of course, had no idea of what we liked, or what we didn’t. She, of course, hated us and wanted us to suffer. I swore that when I finished school I would never, Never, NEVER!! do another Book Report!!! So what is this post – IT’S A BOOK REPORT. Except we don’t call it that, we call it a Book Review. We don’t have to tell the premise of the book, we don’t have to discuss the meanings of the book or discuss what we THOUGHT the author was trying to say (and we NEVER interpreted it the same way as the Teacher!!) All we HAVE to do is give a review of how we liked it and why and maybe a little on the premise. Why, you ask are we doing this? Because of Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort. She says, “We are a group of bloggers from all across the globe who enjoy cooking and reading about food.” We read and review books about food or foodies FOR FUN!! (My 7th grade English teacher would soooo not believe that…)

So, here is my first Book Review for The Kitchen Reader.

    The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz.

lebovitz For right now lets ignore the fact that there are lots of David’s great recipes in the book – Chocolate Cake, Caramelized Apple Tart, Tomato and Sour Dough Bread Salad – and concentrate on the adventures he describes. This book reminded me a lot of Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”, Child’s “My Life in France“, and even a little of “A Thousand Days in Venice” by Marlena de Blasi. What all these have in common are the uncommon descriptions of Europe that most people don’t have acess to – everyday life.

How many ‘travelogues’ discuss doing laundry, buying shoe laces, working in a fish market, even how to dress to take out the trash? David does! With humor, sarcasm, and titillating descriptions of every day life in Paris.

Like waiting in line. It is ‘ one of the most endearing traits of Americans is our ability to be self-deprecating.” “…Forming nice little lines for service-oriented situations…” is one of those endearing traits. Americans are line waiters. We really don’t mind standing in line – if it’s not to long, or we have a little time, or we understand the checker is really busy. But the French, according to Lebovitz don’t like to wait.

    “In Paris, there are only two reasons you an cut in front of others waiting in line:

      1. Because you are old and frail, etc.
      2. Because YOU DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE BEHIND ANYBODY ELSE” (pg. 77). (Which is basically how we feel deep down inside but are toooo polite to do anything about it.)

So. We. Wait. I have never seen a guidebook which says it is almost expected that one should cut in line – it even has a word; risquillage which means ‘taking the risk’. We get extremely upset if someone cuts in line – but in Paris it is an art. And David’s descriptions of these little daily adventures will keep you chuckling all through the book.

Loved the book. Will read it again. And have lots of recipes marked to try. This was a great first pick for the Readers.


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