Suzi and I will always remember our first morning in Paris with total recall. Well, the afternoon with recall. We had taken a Red Eye from New York and got to Paris around noon. We were dead tired but far too excited to get a nap — which most travel experts tell you is a waste anyway. This is why God made espresso.
We left our small Montmartre rental apartment and began to stroll downhill towards the Eiffel Tower. The first neighborhood was, well, a tad unlike what we expect. It can be rough at the Gare du Nord. Our progress was slow. Each block seemed to have still another bread bakery or a battery of sugary delights. Or a meat market with rabbits displayed in the window. Dead ones, but not always skinned.
We made it to the center of town where the famed Parisian elegance and refinement was on display everywhere: in the people, in the shops, in the very air. After a few hours, we were on our third espresso. We were tired and depressed.
“This isn’t like New York,” I said.
“No,” my wife Suzi responded with lowered eyes. We had both considered ourselves knowledgeable foodies. Now we knew something for dead certain: we were food peasants. We had a lot to learn.
And so, for a quarter century we’ve made a dozen trips to Paris. We’ve always stayed in hotels or an Airbnb. And that Airbnb experience has been fabulous because we could to out, shop the street markets, and bring a feast home.
Our “home” cooking has been mostly limited to dips and cheese and wine. But now things are different. This book is what we always wanted and what you want. Cook Like a Local in France encourages you to go there, get a place with a kitchen, walk the streets, shop the markets, go home, and prepare a feast. On the next flight to Paris, this book comes with us.
What kind of feast? Ah, real French feasts:
Crêpes with Pears, Gruyère and Thyme
Sweet Potato, Sausage and Shallot Crustless Quiche
Chèvre, Shallot, Mushroom and Bacon Tartine
Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Seared Mirabelle Plums
Mean and Honey Braised Lamb Shanks
Seared Scallops with Peas, Bacon, and Mint
Roasted Cauliflower with Currants and Capers
Leftover Red Wine and Pomegranate Poached Pear
Now, you are in France and you think by staying at home and not going to a fancy restaurant you’ll be missing out? Uh, no. Not at all. The recipes in this book will give a meal of magnificence.
Besides the recipes, there are guides to the foods of France, food festivals and how to interact with the food merchants. The diversity and quality of French foods, even the daily foods, can be overwhelming. With this book in hand, you can be prepared and engage your fish or cheesemonger to get the very best they have. You want the best and they will surely see that you have come prepared.
This book is long overdue. And it will be part of our French travel kit forever.
Ah, yes. The authors are two women: Lynne Martin one traveled the world for five years using only vacation rentals [hint] and Deborah Scarborough created the internationally recognized The Black Bistro in Northern California with quite sophisticated dishes [another hint]. Take the hints. These authors have fashioned a book of substance.