I am generally a sucker for tales of expatriate Australians/English living in Paris. It’s my way of living my dream of living there vicariously through the experiences of others.
Lunch in Paris is the story of Elizabeth Bard, an American who meets and falls in love with a Frenchman and moves to Paris. Her Paris is one of markets, learning to cook, to speak French, and to eat without getting fat.
There are a number of similarities with Almost French by Australian journalist Sarah Turnbull, who details her own life in Paris. Both attempt to make sense of French culture, the importance of family, difficulties with the French language and the art of finding the perfect Parisian nest.
However, Turnbull, as a journalist has a strong focus from the start of maintaining her already established career. She has a stronger sense of who she is and focuses more on the minutiae of language stuffups, and fitting in. As a journalist, she is also more dispassionate and analytical.
Elizabeth’s story is more about finding herself in Paris, largely through food. She writes more like a philosopher rather than a journalist, and explores her relationship with her Frenchman in far greater depth and detail. You can feel her frustration with the French health system, the bureaucracy and how her Americanness clashes with an Old World culture.
The recipes are included throughout the book, usually at the end of each chapter and are indexed at the back (I’m a librarian, I check these things…)
Her recipes are really yummy, and I can definitely recommend her ratatouille, which I have made a number of times already.
You can also follow her further culinary adventures at Lunch in Paris, her blog.