Title: Lunch in Paris: A Love Story With Recipes
Author: Elizabeth Bard
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lunch in Paris is Elizabeth Bard’s memoir of her love affair with her French beau, Gwendal, but also with French culture and cuisine. At the beginning of the book, Elizabeth moves to France to be with Gwendal. Once there, she deals with snobbery, inefficiency, and utter frustration – but also with love and genuine affection for her adopted culture. This is a story of culture clash, but also adaptation as Elizabeth takes on a new culture as her own through cooking.
Lunch in Paris was a wonderful memoir about life in France. Often, people dream of the romanticism of running away to live in a foreign country. Elizabeth’s experiences put a human face on that dream – in some ways, she turns it into a delusion. While she doesn’t argue that living in France is simply amazing, it’s also incredibly difficult. She loses the life she’s used to, and as a result loses a grip on the reality she once had.
In a lot of ways, this is a memoir about depression. Elizabeth loses her own self-identity to that of France. She doesn’t know what to do with herself because she is so lost in the quagmire of an new culture. At times, she throws herself into her husband’s career, trying to forget the fact that she has no direction of her own. Eventually, Elizabeth finds her solace in French cooking, in the simplicity of the markets she visits daily.
The recipes in Lunch in Paris are delectable. I haven’t made any yet, but I’m eager to try some of them and see how wonderful they really are. The descriptions of food are so vivid that the reader can actually imagine the taste of the food in their mouth. It’s a wonderful way to identify with and connect to the author of the book.
While Lunch in Paris is self-indulgent, it’s also a wonderful travel memoir of another culture. It’s a fun read about the search for self-identity. I definitely recommend it for those who enjoy light memoirs, or those about food.