Monday, August 20, 2012

Lunch: in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes

   I, too, have had lunch in Paris, in 1957, but my scene was far different than this.

   In November it can be rainy in Paris and foggy. Trench coats are designed for this city and I wore mine tightly  belted as I rode the metro out to Le Jardin de Rodin in the 7th arrondissment.

Le jardin de Rodin - Paris, Ile-de-France

Nearby, at a small, one-story stone restaurant, I met with a friend, an acquaintance, really, and enjoyed an unforgettable luncheon at a window-side table in that cozy restaurant  - white table cloths, heavenly kitchen aromas, serious waiters, and all the correct things.

The back story is that he was a war veteran who had served in Algeria during their war for independence in 1954-1962He said little about his experiences but his hair, at age 30, has nearly all gray.

That was the week that I discovered Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems (City Lights Books, San Francisco), published just the year before (1956).  Even then I thought it the work of genius that many arts critics still maintain: "[It is] the most important American poem of the 20th century."

 I read it on yet another rainy afternoon at a cafe on Boulevard Ste. Germain, laughing and excited.  So things were not all that dour!.

LUNCH IN PARIS: A Love Story with Recipes (Little, Brown and Co, 2010) is a delightful memoir that recounts Elizabeth Bard’s love affair with Paris and French cuisine.

 A type-A New Yorker on the fast track, she fell in love with a Frenchman, slept with him halfway through their first date, and never went home again. Out to build a new life in the most romantic – and delicious – city in the world, can she develop a taste for the new without leaving herself behind? 

Leavened with recipes for French classics, the book explores all aspects of life in the City of Lights, from dating and apartment-hunting, to hipster bistros and size-2 femme fatales, and the inevitable cultural clashes with both her husband-to-be… and her butcher.

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