As in the last 10 days I did a lot of trips - few of them food-related - I spent a lot of time commuting and changing or waiting for buses, the perfect time of then year to catch up with books. Food is getting more and more slices from my life and reading how to write about food is part of my newest writing games. In the last two months, my interests oscillated between spending time with my travel blogs or improving my cooking experience, including my ways to share my recipes, achievement and most likely, failures.
Because I was going to spend some time in my beautiful France, before arriving to Paris I tried to finish Amy Thomas' Paris my sweet. I am quite predictable, but I started to read it long before I decided to head to France for a couple of days. You can read the book from different perspectives: the history of sweets in France and America, the American expat life in Paris, good inspiration for food writing, a sweet travel guide to Paris. As for the last part, I saved some references for the next occasion when I plan to dedicate more time to the sweet delicacies of the French capital city.
The delicious part of the book is the mouth watering description of the cakes: I rarely find in my foodie reading experiences so much precision in describing the right fragrance and dough consistency. Do not expect recipes and stories about how to prepare those miraculous - for me - cakes or pastry or chocolates. Most probably, for many of them, one do not need to try it at home, but in the proper ambiance and good smelling corner of a Parisian laboratory.
My favourite quote, Marcel Pagnol's: 'I'm gonna make a bread like none other ever tasted before and, in this bread, I will put a lot of love and friendship'. Need to keep this in mind when experiencing my easy or complicated recipes.
What I did not appreciated: the insertion of personal stories that I've rather find clumsy.
This is not a book about me and my late entry in the kitchen. The writing is great, the recipes fantastic and a good sample of quality food writing, but what a pity that the most part of the book is taken by the love stories - not all of them with the food - and name dropping and celebrities' high-life. 'After all, she writes, everyone cooks for matters of the heart. We're all in the kitchen because it fulfils a longing inside, whether it's for grave, survival, a renewed sense of self, or just of the thrill of it all - there are the stories that get us there, keep us there or sometimes take us away'. Similarly with love, cooking can be learned; all you need is an open heart and the curiosity to take the risk of the unexpected.
PS. Stay away, there are a lot of reviews and tasting going on in the next days, nowhere else but here, on my delicious blog.