Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Taste of Paris - A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie, 2017

Paris in July hosted by Thyme for Tea is a great event.  I Focus on literary works and nonfiction but you are invited to share your thoughts and experience on anything Paris related, from a great recipe, a favourite movie set in Paris, mine is Ninotchka, an account of your stay in Paris.  I hope lots of people join in.  Just be sure to  link you post on The event home page.  

There is still plenty of time to join us.

 There are lots of very interesting posts from food bloggers, Francophiles, travel bloggers, as well as book bloggers.  Normally I don’t venture far from the international book blog community so for me this event is an excellent way to expand my horizons. 

So far I have posted on

  1. “A Yiddish Poet in Paris” by Blume Lempel, 1978
  2. Vagabond by Colette, 1904
  3. Lost Times - Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp by Józef Czafski -translated and introduced. by Eric Karpeles - 2018
  4. “Her Last Dance” by Blume Lempel - 
  5. Gerorge Sand by Martine Reid 2017
THE ARCHIVE THIEF The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust LISA MOSES LEFF
  1. “Cousin Claude” by Blume Lempel
  2. A Taste of Paris:A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie 2017
  3. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick, 2004,sort of a retake on The Ambassadors by Henry James - no post planned. 

There are lots of mouth watering food posts so far this year by participants in Paris in July 2018.  A Taste of Paris:A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie gives us an entertaining and very well researched account of how Paris became a food lovers (I include myself in this category) paradise.  

Downie takes us on a historical walk through French dining history, starting with Romans roasting oysters, moving on to a 32 course medieval royal dinner, spending some time with high decadence of the final days of the monarchy, on up to the enrichment of the contemorary by residents of former colonies.  Some say the French restaurant scene was launched when 1000s of cooks were put out of work by the revolution and started businesses to survive.  Some of these still exist.

Downie takes us into some of the holy temples for foodies, four and five Michelin star restaurants as well as simple neighbourhood bistros serving classic French regional dishes.  He walks us through markets, teaches us enough not to seem a fool in a butcher shop or at fish monger.  The French still food shop daily, seeking out the freshest ingredients.  

Downie has a deep feel for French history and culture.  He loves Paris and it shows.

A Taste of Paris:A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie left me wishing I was in Paris, with a very large food budget and no concerns about health!

I greatly enjoyed A Taste of Paris:A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie and endorse it for all foodies on either a real or an arm chair trip to Paris.

Knowing a culture, a Literature, requires an  understanding of diet.  Now I know what the aristocracy depicted by Proust ate, what Henry James and Turgenev might have ordered at a restaurant and what the ordinary Parisians in La Comedie Humaine dined upon.

My thanks to Downie for this marvellous walk through Paris.

Official Author Auto - Biography 

A native San Franciscan, I've called Paris home since 1986. I'm the author of a dozen books. My travel, food and wine features have appeared worldwide. I've been contributing editor or Paris correspondent for half a dozen magazines. After a quarter century I still love living in Paris. My wife Alison and I also enjoy sharing with our readers, taking them on private tours of Paris, Rome, Burgundy and the Italian Riviera. Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, with photography by Alison (Random House) is into its 10th printing. Paris City of Night is a classic thriller set in Paris; Food Wine Italian Riviera & Genoa; Rome; and Burgundy are published by The Little Bookroom, as is Quiet Corners of Rome. My Paris Timeline App, on the Apple store, traces 10,000 years of history, mystery, and lore. The Food Wine Rome app lists hundreds of restaurants and gourmet shops. Paris to the Pyrenees is my latest bestseller. 

Mel u


Suko said...

This book sounds wonderful! It would be fascinating to learn more about the history of such a delicious topic. One of the things I noticed and enjoyed in Japan was the abundance of French food and restaurants. Great review!

Sami said...

Sounds like a lovely book.
My daughter's partner is French and when we visited them in Marseille they surprised us with various courses of delicious food.

Anonymous said...

Merci, Mel, so glad you enjoyed my book. Let me know before you come back to Paris and we'll get together for a java and jive. All best, David

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I must look for this book. Thank you for sharing it.

Tamara said...

Mel U, its kind of a surprise seeing you review this type of book - more of a foodie book than a historic work of classic nature. But thank you, because you have served us an entree and now I would like to taste more. Soo many good books with snippets of French history and links to current culture it's hard to choose.