Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City

Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City

by David Lebovitz

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From the New York Times bestselling author of My Paris Kitchen and L'Appart, a deliciously funny, offbeat, and irreverent look at the city of lights, cheese, chocolate, and other confections.

Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city and after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he finally moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood. But he soon discovered it's a different world en France.

From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with—and even understand—this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.

When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with 135 euros in hand to make a 134-euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal. Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything.

Once you stop laughing, the more than fifty original recipes, for dishes both savory and sweet, such as Pork Loin with Brown Sugar–Bourbon Glaze, Braised Turkey in Beaujolais Nouveau with Prunes, Bacon and Bleu Cheese Cake, Chocolate-Coconut Marshmallows, Chocolate Spice Bread, Lemon-Glazed Madeleines, and Mocha–Crème Fraîche Cake, will have you running to the kitchen for your own taste of Parisian living.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767932127
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/05/2009
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 221,578
File size: 30 MB
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About the Author

DAVID LEBOVITZ has been a professional cook and baker for most of his life; he spent nearly thirteen years at Berkeley's Chez Panisse until he left the restaurant business in 1999 to write books. He is the author of six books, including My Paris Kitchen, The Perfect Scoop, and The Sweet Life in Paris. David has been featured in Bon AppétitFood & WineCook's Illustrated, the Los Angeles TimesSaveurTravel + Leisure, the New York Times, and more. He moved to Paris in 2004 and turned davidlebovitz.com into one of the first phenomenally popular food and living blogs.

Read an Excerpt


I distinctly remember the exact moment when I became Parisian. It wasn’t the moment when I found myself seriously considering buying dress socks with goofy cartoon characters on them. Nor was it the time I went to my bank with €135 in hand to make a payment for €134, and thought it completely normal when the teller told me that the bank didn’t have any change that day.

And I’m sure it wasn’t when I ran into the fiftysomething receptionist from my doctor’s office sunbathing topless by the Seine, à la française, and I didn’t avert my eyes (much as I wanted to).

It wasn’t when my shoulder bag caught the sweater of a young boy in La Maison du Chocolat and, as it started to unravel, I ignored his woeful cries. “C’est pas ma faute! ” I reasoned to myself before walking away. After all, who in their right mind would wear a sweater to a chocolate shop, anyway?  It could have been the moment when I listened intently as two Parisian friends explained to me why the French are so determined to clip the pointed tips off haricots verts before cooking them. Was it because that’s where the radiation collects in the green beans, as one person insisted? Or was it to prevent the little points from getting stuck in your teeth, which the other one assured me would happen? Even though I didn’t remember ever getting a string bean end lodged between my teeth, nor did I think radiation had the ability to slide around in vegetables, I found myself nodding in agreement.

No, the exact moment happened just a few months after I’d arrived in Paris. I was spending a lazy Sunday in my apartment lounging around in faded sweatpants and a loose, tattered sweatshirt, my ideal outfit for doing nothing in particular. By late afternoon, I’d finally mustered the energy to take the elevator downstairs to the inner courtyard of my apartment building to empty the garbage.  With the elevator door exactly three steps from my front door and the garbage room just five steps from the elevator landing at the bottom, the trip involves basically four movements—walk out the door, take the elevator down, dump the garbage, and go back up.

The whole process should take maybe forty-five seconds.  So I extracted myself from the sofa, shaved, changed into a pair of real pants, tucked in a clean wrinkle-free shirt, and slipped on a pair of shoes and socks before heading toward the door with my little plastic sac for the poubelle.  God forbid I should run into someone from my building while wearing my Sunday worst.  And that, mes amis, was when I realized I had become Parisian.
The unspoken rule if you plan to live here—but equally good to adopt even if you’re just coming for a visit—is knowing that you’re going to be judged on how you look and how you present yourself. Yes, even if you’re just dumping your garbage. You don’t want anyone else, such as a neighbor (or worse, one of those garbagemen in their nifty green outfits), to think you’re a slob, do you?

Since only 20 percent of Americans have passports, we don’t get out as much as we should, and our dealings with foreigners are usually on our own turf where they have to play by our rules. We’re not so good at adapting to others, since we’re rarely in a position that requires us to do it. I’ve heard a variety of complaints from visitors (and uttered a few myself) expecting things to be like they are back home: “Why don’t they have doggie bags?” “How come there’s no ice?” “Why can’t I pick something up off the store shelf?” or “Why is our waiter flirting with those Swedish girls and having a cigarette when we asked for our check over thirty minutes ago?”

I wonder why when we travel outside the United States we expect people to behave like Americans—even in their own country. Think about it for a minute: how many waiters, taxi drivers, hotel clerks, shopkeepers, and others in your hometown could or would respond to a French person who spoke only French? If you don’t speak French and have traveled to Paris, you were probably helped by a number of people who speak pretty good English. And almost all Europeans coming to our shores make it a point to adapt to our customs. Well, almost all. Don’t ask a waiter who’s just been stiffed on his 18 percent tip.

Every culture has certain rules. In America for some unknown reason, you can’t get wine at fast- food restaurants, and spending a few minutes digging deeply inside your nose on public transit is frowned upon. In Paris, the rules dictate one shouldn’t dress in grungy jeans and a ripped T-shirt, unless it says “Let’s Sex! . . . NOW!!” painted in gold lettering across the front. To live in a foreign country you need to learn the rules, especially if you plan to stay. And I had to learn plenty.
Like so many other people, I dreamed about living in Paris ever since my first visit in the ’80s, during that rite of passage every American student fresh out of college used to embark upon, before kids decided it was less of a hassle to explore the world with RAM rather than a Railpass. Why bother getting lost in the labyrinth of historic cities, dining on regional delicacies, sleeping with total strangers in youth hostels, and soaping up in communal showers with a team of Italian soccer players? Yes, I suppose it’s far better to stay home and experience Europe though a computer screen. But back then, I had quite a time doing most of those things. (I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess which ones.) But explore I did. I spent almost a year traipsing around the continent after college doing nothing in particular except learning about European cultures, primarily by pulling up a stool or chair and eating what the locals ate. During that time, I made it through almost every country in Europe and tried whatever local delicacies were to be had: oozing raw- milk cheeses in France and hearty, grain- packed breads in Germany; Belgian milk chocolates that when sniffed, could transport you to a dairy farm in the countryside; and crispy- skin fish grilled over gnarled branches in the souks of Istanbul. And of course, lots of buttery pastries and crusty breads smeared with plenty of golden- yellow butter in Paris, the likes of which I’d never tasted before.

After months of criss-crossing Europe, in dire need of a good, deep scrubbing and a proper haircut to rein in my unruly mop of curls (which definitely earned me the term dirty blond), I eventually ran out of steam—and money—and returned to the States. During the carefree time I’d spent traipsing from country to country, I hadn’t given any thought to my future and what I’d do after I returned. Why spoil the fun? Back in America, after seeing a world outside of our sometimes isolating borders, I didn’t quite know where I would fit in and hadn’t a clue as to where to go or what to do with my life.

I’d read about “California cuisine,” which was a new and exciting concept just emerging back then. And something to do with food seemed like an interesting option, since I didn’t see Europe through my eyes, but my stomach. Everything I’d tasted was a far cry from my college days, when I worked at a vegetarian restaurant ladling out peanut butter–thickened soups and dishing up desserts made by our long-haired baker, who added his own unique touches to anything he baked. In fact, I can still smell his fruit cobblers filled with apples and kidney beans, baked and scented with his signature handful of cumin, which gave them a distinctly unpleasant odor.

On second thought, that might have been him.

Fortunately, the European style of cooking was gaining a foothold in northern California, and there was a new appreciation for fine foods and cooking du marché: buying locally produced foods at their peak of freshness, which was a daily ritual in Europe. It seemed like common sense to me, and simply the right way to eat. So I packed up and moved to San Francisco, just across the bay from Berkeley, where an exciting culinary revolution was simmering. And I hoped cumin- scented desserts weren’t a part of it.

Shopping the outdoor markets of the Bay Area, I discovered farmers who were raising things like blood oranges with tangy, wildly colored juices and tight bunches of deep- violet radicchio, which people at the time assumed were runty heads of cabbage. Laura Chenel was producing European- style moist rounds of fresh goat cheese in Sonoma, which were so unfamiliar that Americans were mistaking them for tofu (especially in Berkeley). And viticulturists in Napa Valley were producing hearty wines, like Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, which had a great affinity for the newly celebrated regional cuisine, which was liberally seasoned with lots of fragrant garlic, branches of rosemary and thyme, and drizzled with locally pressed olive oil—a big improvement over the bland “salad oil” I grew up with.

I was thrilled—no, astounded—to find the culinary counterparts to everything I had eaten in Europe. I savored the hand- dipped ultrafine chocolates of Alice Medrich at Cocolat, which rivaled those I had swooned over in swanky French chocolate boutiques. I’d line up daily for a boule of pain au levain that Steve Sullivan would pull out of his fired-up brick oven every morning over at Acme Bread, and was ecstatic to find many of the pungent cheeses I remembered so fondly from Europe stacked up at the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley, just across from Chez Panisse.  Since I believed that if I was really going to pursue a restaurant career I should start at the top, I applied for a job at Chez Panisse, where Alice Waters was leading this culinary revolution I wanted to enlist in. I sent a letter to the restaurant, waited a few weeks, and got no response. Despite the lack of acknowledgment or enthusiasm on their part, I presented myself at the now- famous redwood archway, ready to embark on my lifelong career as a chef. I marched inside, where a busy waiter, who was rushing by holding a tray of wineglasses and wearing a white shirt, tie, and long apron, looking remarkably like a garçon in Paris, pointed me toward the bright kitchen in the back of the dining room.

The kitchen staff was working at full throttle. Some were maniacally rolling out ultrathin, nearly transparent sheets of pasta. Others were painstakingly trimming carrots tinier than a baby’s pinky, their peelers thwacking against the countertop at warp speed, spewing bright orange curlicues, then tossing each denuded root into a stainless steel bin with a little plunk before seamlessly moving on to the next one.  One cook was busy layering moist rounds of goat cheese in well- worn earthenware crocks, ripping apart bunches of thyme and layering them between whole cloves of garlic and pinelike branches of rosemary. In the back, I noticed some women intently guarding the oven doors, checking inside every few moments. I had no idea at the time that they were scrupulously watching the progress of Lindsey Shere’s famous almond tarts—making sure they didn’t cook a second too long and were taken out just when they reached their precise degree of caramelization.

I went over to speak with the chef, who was at the epicenter of it all, directing the chaos around her. Overwhelmed by it all, I asked in my most timid voice if there was any possibility . . . any way at all . . . she could perhaps find a place for me at Chez Panisse—the Greatest Restaurant in America.

She closed her eyes and put down her knife midslice, then turned around to look at me. And in front of the entire kitchen staff, she proceeded to tell me off, saying she had no idea who I was and how could I think that I could just walk into the restaurant unannounced and ask for a job? Then she picked up her knife and started chopping again, which I took as a pretty good indication that I should leave.

And that was the end of my first job interview in laid-back California.  So I went to work at another restaurant in San Francisco, where I found myself in way over my head and in a job that was downright horrible.  The chef was a complete nutcase and should have traded his chef’s jacket for a more restrictive padded one, with buckles in the rear. My Sunday brunch shift would begin with his breaking open and smashing to bits all the scones I had carefully rolled out, cut, and baked that morning, verifying that each one was, indeed, flaky. And by my last shift (ever), I was so flustered by it all that, as I struggled to keep up with the barrage of orders that came streaming in, I neglected a pot of simmering fryer oil, which turned into a raging fire.

Cumin-scented cobblers were beginning to seem not quite so bad after all. (I do have a few good memories of that place, though. I still get a chuckle when I think how one of my coworkers, who was teaching me a few words in Vietnamese, taught me how to say “sweet potatoes” in his native language, which actually meant “blow job.” Nowadays I wonder what the other prep cooks were thinking when I called downstairs and asked one of them to come upstairs because I desperately needed some “sweet potatoes.”)

After each day of work, I’d drag myself home and collapse in a defeated heap, near tears. Waking up the next morning, I found myself filled with so much dread that I could barely heave myself out of bed. So when I heard the news that the chef at Chez Panisse was leaving to open her own place, I plotted my escape—a triumphant return to where I rightfully belonged.  At least I thought so. After scoring an interview with the new chef and undergoing the final scrutiny of Alice Waters herself, I was soon proudly working at Chez Panisse.

(I have to mention that the original chef who disparaged me turned out to be a terrific person, warm and supportive of up-and-coming chefs, and someone I like and respect very much. Although not French, she was my first encounter with a short-fuse French- style temperament and good practice for things to come.)

In all, I spent nearly thirteen years cooking at Chez Panisse, most of it working in the pastry department, joining the select few who’ve mastered Lindsey’s famed, and notoriously tricky, almond tart. I’m not one for hero worship, but I will certainly say that Alice Waters was a formidable force, and she kept the hundred-plus cooks who worked there on their toes at all times. Someone once said, “You don’t know terror until you’ve heard the sound of Alice’s footsteps coming toward you.”

And how true that was. I quickly learned that the faster those little feet were racing toward me, the more trouble I was going to be in. For all my smart-alecky retorts, though, Alice was almost always right, and each upbraiding was actually a valuable lesson for a young cook like me. Alice was committed to instilling in us her ideas for using seasonal and local ingredients long before the idea became such an overused cliché that airline menus are now touting “locally grown” ingredients. And she inspired us to put those ideas into action in the food we were cooking.  Lindsey Shere, the co- owner of the restaurant and executive pastry chef, was also a constant, and lasting, source of inspiration. From Lindsey, I learned that making our deceptively simple desserts was often far more difficult than creating complex, multitiered, over-the-top sugary extravaganzas.  Simplicity meant our ingredients—fruits, nuts, and chocolates—needed to be absolutely top- notch, and sourcing the best of them was an integral part of our job.

Lindsey constantly surprised me with a taste of something new and unexpected—like fresh, tender apricots gently poached in sweet Sauternes to complement their tang, or a scoop of freshly churned rose- flavored ice cream, its perfumed aroma infused with the fragrant petals she’d plucked from her dewy garden that morning. There were golden-brown biscotti with the crunch of toasted almonds, each bite releasing the curious scent of anise, and what became my absolute favorite: wedges of very dark chocolate cake, made with European-style bittersweet chocolate, which were barely sweet. I gobbled up hunks of it every chance I could.  Each day was a revelation to me, and I learned restraint in a profession where the prevalent wisdom had always been not to let guests leave unless they were gut-bustingly full. I knew I was in the right place when I was told “This is the one restaurant where the customer isn’t always right.” When I started, I worked in the café upstairs, and learned how to let the leaves of just-picked lettuce fall from my hands into an airy heap on the plate just so. Later, when I moved to the pastry department, I reveled in the fraises des bois, tiny wild strawberries raised especially for us, each one a tiny burst of the most intense strawberry flavor imaginable, which we’d serve with just a scoop of nutty crème fraîche and a sprinkle of sugar, letting the flavor of the wild berries shine. We were making food that was meant to inspire, not be mindlessly ingested. With each flat of picture perfect fruit or berries I tore into, I realized I was part of something very special.

While I happily learned dessert making surrounded by the most dedicated cooks imaginable, as the years wore on something else was happening:

My back and brain were suffering under the stress and brutal demands of restaurant work. Cooks are known to move rapidly from job to job, but they stay put at Chez Panisse. When only the highest- quality ingredients are available to you and you’re surrounded by a terrific crew of people with the same passionate interest in sending out the best food possible, where do you go next? What do you do?

So after over a decade, I left Chez Panisse. But then had to ask myself, “What should I do?” I didn’t really know, but Alice suggested I write a book of desserts. So I started by plucking my favorite cookbooks off the shelf and seeing what features appealed to me most. I had created quite a few recipes and adapted some that were inspired by others, and I wanted to share them in a friendly, approachable style. Most of them were simple to make and didn’t require an arsenal of fancy equipment.  I also wanted to shift people’s perception of dessert from being the rich overload, the proverbial “nail in the coffin” that seals one’s fate after dinner, to simpler sweets that concentrated on the pure flavors of fresh fruits and dark chocolate. I was delighted when people reported back that my recipes had become part of their permanent repertoires and happy to be carrying on with the foundations that Lindsey and Alice had instilled in me.

After a few years in the pajama-clad workforce of folks who work at home (or in my case, specifically, in the kitchen), I had a life-changing experience: I unexpectedly lost my partner, who had been the vision of health and vitality. It was one of those unimaginable experiences in life where everything around you stops and you go into shock, able to do only what’s necessary to stay afloat. I was devastated, and as Joan Didion wrote in A Year of Magical Thinking, I found myself in that “place none of us know until we reach it.”

Eventually, after months and months of numbness, I realized I needed to rejoin life. After learning that life can take an unexpected turn when you don’t think it will, I sought to regain my footing and felt ready to move forward.  It was an opportunity to flip over the Etch A Sketch of my life, give it a good shake, and start again. I had so much: a job in one of the best restaurants in America, a few well-received cookbooks, a beautiful house in San Francisco with a professionally equipped kitchen, and lots of really close friends who meant the world to me. But all that wasn’t fueling me anymore.  After all I’d gone through, I was emotionally exhausted and in need of something to recharge me.

So I decided to move to Paris.

My friends reacted by saying, “You can’t run away, David.” But I didn’t feel like I was running from anything; I was heading in a new direction.

Why would anyone run from a beautiful city like San Francisco, where I had lived most of my life, and where all my friends were? Well, because there was Paris.

I had fallen in love with Paris when I had attended some advanced pastry classes at the prestigious Ecole Lenôtre a few years earlier. One night after a lively dinner with friends, I was walking alone across one of the graceful bridges that cross the Seine. If you’ve ever walked through Paris at night, you can’t help noticing that its beauty is magnified in the darkness; lights glow softly everywhere and frame the centuries-old buildings and monuments in spectacular ways. I remember that evening breathing in the damp air rising off the Seine, watching the Bateaux Parisiens gliding on the river, loaded with awestruck tourists, and illuminating the monuments in their wake, the dramatic light hitting a building for just a few moments before moving on to the next.

It’s the life of the city, though, that held the most appeal for me and inspired my move. Paris is a major metropolis, yet has all the peculiarities and charms of a small town. Each neighborhood has a special personality, its butchers and bakers, the maraîchers at the open-air stalls selling fruits and vegetables piled high, and the cafés, which Parisians use as makeshift living rooms to mingle with friends over a glass of wine, or just to sit by themselves with a chilled kir, content to do nothing more than gaze off in the distance.

It all seemed good to me. So off I went.


M A K E S 1 S E RV I N G

Kir is a popular apértif named after the former mayor of Dijon who dedicated himself to reviving the café culture in Burgundy after it had been devastated by World War II. He was a big proponent of this apértif, which featured a splash of crème de cassis, a fruity liqueur made with locally produced black currants. This further endeared him to the locals, as well as to me.

Substitute Champagne for the white wine and you’ve got a kir royale. Just be sure to serve it in a Champagne flute, which even the humblest and funkiest café in Paris will do. I prefer my kir on the lighter side, although it’s very au courant to use a bit more cassis than suggested here.

11/2 to 2 teaspoons crème de cassis

1 glass well-chilled dry white wine, preferably Aligoté, or another tangy-dry white wine, such as Chablis or Sauvignon Blanc, will also do

Pour the crème de cassis into a wineglass.

Add the wine and serve.

The accompaniment of choice, in Paris, is salted peanuts.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"David Lebovitz is the greatest thing to happen to dessert since the spoon, but this time he shows that beyond his artful nose and flawless taste, he also has a keen reporter's eye." —-Mort Rosenblum, author of The Secret Life of the Seine

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Sweet Life in Paris 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Polly-Vous-Francais More than 1 year ago
I just moved back to the US after 3 years in Paris. Help! What to do when I'm wishing I were back in Paris and longing for some good French cuisine? Why, I shop, of course! But lacking the requisite French culinary skills, I don't shop for groceries; I head straight to the book store. And today I found the perfect remedy for what ailed me. I purchased a copy of David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris, a fabulous collection of anecdotes about his life in the City of deLights. I'd been meaning to read it since it first appeared last month. From the introduction to the final page, the book reads the same way you would relish a French feast. Each chapter is like a dish to be savored. Delightful to the senses, pleasing array of perfectly-timed morsels. One course to the next sauced with David's tangy, well-honed humor. And punctuated by his best recipes (so tempting that even I might try them, kitchen flunkie though I may be). And, like a proper diner of an exquisite French meal, I devoured it appreciatively from cover to cover in one sitting. So if you, too, would rather be in Paris, treat yourself to The Sweet Life in Paris. The next best thing to being there. Yum! (this review originally appeared on my blog "Polly-Vous Francais?)
ivyNYC More than 1 year ago
I wish I finished this book before my taking my first trip to Paris! It's fun to read and makes you laugh every third page or so. There are plenty of insider food-related recommendations. And lots of unusual recipes! A fun summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some down-to-earth, ins-and-outs of a newcomer's daily life in Paris with wonderful recipes included.
Mergatroy More than 1 year ago
Interesting and straight forward ups and downs of living in Paris. Parts were 'laugh out loud' plus enjoyed the recipes thrown in... especially that Chocolate Cake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A friend loaned me a hardcover version of this book and I couldn't put it down until the last page was read. The addition of recipes was a bonus and I just purchased it for my Nook. Have been in Paris several times and could relate to so many of the incidents that the author experienced. The description of buying crepes from a food wagon selling many varieties of fillings on the street is perfect as I remembered enjoying a crepe with butter, sugar and fresh lemon juice. This is a must read!.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad book, but the author comes across as a little elitist. I really hate books by expats that do nothing but complain about the country they are currently in. This book does this about half the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very short on stories and bits of memoir, much heavier on recipes. Which is fine, if I had known I was buying a book that is nearly more recipes than Foodie/France memoir.
noelsmom More than 1 year ago
I picked this up just to breeze through the recipes. I found myself reading the entire book and really enjoying every minute. A very nice light hearted read.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Enjoying reading about the edgy side of Paris
maggie1944 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since visiting France, and spending a few days in Paris, I've been a bit of a "sucker" for books about the French. [The Sweet Life in Paris] was a quick, fun read with the author combining an irony filled memoir of living in Paris, with a collection of his recipes for desserts, and French inspired foods. He does try to use ingredients available to Americans, but does definitely impress me with his fancy foods. Recipes are ust accessible enough that I might try some of the simpler ones.I originally picked up the book because I needed something easy to read while soaking in my bathtub (a favorite reading place for me) but I soon found that I was bringing the book with me in my purse because I was hooked. I recommend it to readers who are interested in France, the french, and in cooking.
maureen61 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful, funny, quirky and insightful tale of an American pastry chef relocating to Paris. His attempts at adjustment and fitting in are humorous and touching. A great read - especially for those of us who love to travel!
mrn945 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the idea of cooking. I also love reading. And travel. A book that combines all three with humour and self-depreciation is all right by me!Mr. Lebovitz's writing reminds me of David Sedaris, high praise as I love his short stories.He is self-depreciating and admits that the story of his life in Paris is not the typical armchair travel - he never seems to grasp the language, he didn't buy a house to renovate. In fact, all he did was try and live.I say all he did not to decrease the value of his story - in fact, I think it adds a certain appeal. We have all dreamed of moving to Paris, and he lends hints on how to adapt to this crazy culture without entirely losing your mind.The recipes which he also includes in the book are entrancing. All of them are easy enough that even I could try making them, but the flavour combinations are the true masterpieces. He pairs food and spices together in a remarkable manner. I have one of his cookbooks, the ice cream one, and I have had remarkable results with it.So, I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book, especially if you're planning a trip to Paris soon like me and wish to try some excellent food. However, even if you are not going to Paris soon, I still want you to read this book. It is funny and endearing and clever. Be sure to check out his cookbooks as well. Though I have only seen the ice cream one, his other books have gotten rave reviews!
cinnamonowl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book made me hungry!! I probably gained a few pounds just dreaming about the food he talks about - the pastries, the cheese, crepes, chocolates. I loved the the everyday anecdotes of the author's life in Paris, becoming assimilated into the culture and nuances of life there. I also learned how to properly slice different kinds of cheeses, which is always good to know.I loved his chapters on chocolate and coffee- two of my favorite things. It seems that while Paris has amazing chocolate, and I would love to have some delivered to my door in a turquoise bag from Patrick Rogers (I would like to try Arrogance please), it appears that I would hate the coffee. Immensely. I think that was my favorite part in the book- where he discusses French coffee, and the many ways it can be ordered, and how you should order it if even in Paris. Since I practically have a coffee drip attached to me, this is information I can use. I plan on passing this book on to my husband, who actually enjoys cooking and baking, and his favorite is French cooking and baking. Hopefully he will try his hand at some of the recipes provided, such as the financiers, the cinnamon meringue with espresso, and the fromage blanc souffle. And of course the nutella crepes.
rakerman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very clear-eyed (and funny) look at the realities of living in Paris, with all its positives and negatives. It is a wonderful city but it also presents many challenges to the newcomer. A great read. (Also full of recipes which as someone who doesn't cook, I'm not qualified to comment upon.)
LaurieRKing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Chez Panisse pastry chef, accustomed to Bay Area life, transplants himself to Paris, with recipes and reflections. Zut!
nyiper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm thinking that the 'new' version I have is the paperback edition which is just out or about to come out. What a perfectly delightful person he is---talking right to the reader about everything he is thinking on different subjects having to do with living in, of all places, Paris----and what a description comes forth---the good, the bad and the ugly---plus some yummy looking recipes. His humor made me laugh out loud as I read.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pastry chef and cookbook author David Lebovitz has amassed a large following for his Paris/food blog, and these pleasant essays and first rate recipes explain why. Lebovitz`s `The Sweet Life in Paris¿ is indeed sweet for the reader.His subtitle says it all: Delicious Adventures in the World¿s Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City. Lebovitz¿s take on the Parisian scene is laugh aloud funny and spot on. His willingness to laugh at his own mistakes and his awe at the brassiness of the Parisian character make this book a charmer. His topics are varied - setting up a new apartment, the Parisian attitude toward nudity, what not to say at dinner parties, how to traverse Paris streets and survive, the awesome power of Dulce de Leche Brownies¿.The reader comes to share his joy at having survived his semi-assimilation into Parisian life and culture. (Remember those fifth grade book reports when you had to come up with a theme for your book? This one would be easy - it wasn¿t easy but the author made a place for himself in Paris [of all places!] by being nice and learning when to push back.) Each essay is followed by a Lebovitz recipe or two. As I read I marked eleven to try right away. Highly recommended for those who love Paris, those who love food, and those who are willing to laugh aloud.
sarah-e on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh, David Lebovitz.... I am a fan of Lebovitz's blog, and this book presents snippets of Parisian life and recipes in a similar way. It was enjoyable to read and I have passed it on to friends who are also enjoying it. One thing I must say: I don't think I could ever live in Paris after reading this book, so if anyone you know is planning to move there they might need this book as a heads-up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, Nicholas Waggoner, sent you a friend request.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is the best. I pick it up and reread it often.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this made sad because I was only able to visit Paris for 3 days. When I arrived I actually wanted to cry due the joy of finally visiting my dream city. This book reminds me of that feeling with each page and each recipe. I only wish I had read this book before my trip. Cannot wait to crank up my Eartha Kitt CD, put on my pink shappy chic apron and escape to my favorite place via cooking...while sipping some wine.
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