I recently finished The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City, by David Lebovitz, and it made me very hungry. In case you want to know how much of a masochist I am, I started reading this book just after I failed my glucose screening test. So, while I was waiting for a glucose tolerance test to find out if I had gestational diabetes, I decided to eliminate refined sugars and simple carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes from my diet. And then I read a book about sublime French desserts. Great idea!
Luckily, my glucose test came back fine and I don’t technically have to avoid sugar for the next 13 weeks, so I am looking forward to trying a few of Lebovitz’s (surprisingly not complicated) dessert recipes, albeit sparingly, in the next few months. And, I did try his warm goat cheese salad (salade de chevre chaud), similar to this recipe on his blog (I made it without any bread or bread crumbs, just cheese baked in the oven over salad — yum!), and I will never eat cold chevre again! Hah. Like all of his recipes seem, it was simple and delicious, and focused on meticulous preparation of a few great quality ingredients. Just reading the book has really changed the way that I’m cooking simple dishes for myself lately.
But the book also concentrates on Lebovitz’s life as an American living in Paris for years, and comes across as a lighthearted cultural commentary on all the differences between Americans and Parisians (and more broadly, the French). He really makes a case for Parisians as their own breed separate even from the rest of France. It definitely made me think about Paris, and traveling, differently. It kind of makes traveling seem much more fraught with potential faux pas, but perhaps that is a good thing, because if I ever travel to Paris, I will be sure to keep in mind all the cultural quirks that could make me seem terribly rude to a non-American. In three words, the book is funny and eye-opening and mouthwatering. Here are four little excerpts I liked: