David Lebovitz transfers the not-so-innocent-abroad tone of his blog to the printed page in a funny, instructive book about life in Paris as lived by a former pastry chef who loves Paris and Parisians, but has many a critique to offer about the baffling ways of the French.
This is a humorous look at life in Paris from the perspective of an American, as Lebovitz embarks on various adventures, meets new people, and tastes different things. Lebovitz encounters everything from nasty shopkeepers, obnoxious Americans, a housecleaner with a mean right hook, and a boyfriend who is so Parisian that, according to Lebovitz, if you look up in the dictionary the definition of the word “Parisian,” there’s a picture of him there.
From navigating the hectic sidewalks (where Parisians have a tendency to crash into anyone in their paths) to discovering the strict and sometimes bizarre rules of French dining etiquette (cut your banana with a knife and fork but never your salad!), to trying to purchase or return something in a department store, Lebovitz’s daily challenges are acutely observed and thoroughly entertaining.
But whatever colorful irritations the French throw his way, Lebovitz is understandably smitten with living among the world’s best cheese and chocolate shops. Complete with 50 original recipes for dishes both sweet and savory — including the dulce de leche brownies that opened many a stony shopkeeper’s heart — Living the Sweet Life in Paris is a book for Francophobes and Francophiles alike.
Change in our kitchens
Reflections on cooking — and a career that’s based largely at the stove.
Flatbreads from around the continent
Beyond a supporting role
The great Sicilian-Neapolitan kitchen rivalry
Five ideas each month for eating better