What is it about people packing up up their lives and starting fresh in Paris that is so mesmerizing?
David Lebovitz did just that 10 years ago. He was living and working as a professional cook in San Francisco when he decided to move to Paris. He didn’t speak French, but despite obvious communication and cultural roadblocks he gradually transitioned into the Parisian lifestyle. He truly embraced his experience, and I think that is his part of his appeal.
He never shields readers from the inconveniences that he sometimes encounters as an expat living in Paris. His true-to-life anecdotes and musings only add to the charm of his story telling and recipe sharing.
David has a knack for writing in such a way that the reader feels like she might be sitting in his kitchen, perhaps next to his farmhouse kitchen sink find. (He searched for just the perfect double sink, which he describes as ‘big enough to wash baking sheets, enamelled Dutch ovens and lugs of fruit for jam and jelly-making’. There is even a picture of his sink full of dishes needing to be washed. I love seeing dirty dishes – how refreshing!)
Although I have clearly made many of David’s recipes – Chicken with Mustard being my very favourite, and then the French Lentil Salad – it’s his stories sprinkled between his recipes that I have gleaned the most interesting tidbits from. Stories explaining French cooking methods, choosing the best ingredients, introducing friends and generally giving his book a solidity that qualifies it as a cookbook with substance.
Photographer, Ed Anderson brings both Paris and David’s cooking directly into the readers’ hands. I especially love that the inside front and back covers are used to display full photographs.
This is the most inspiring cookbook I have read and cooked from in a long time.
Now go cook some Chicken with mustard.