Monday, October 3, 2011
lunch in paris
I finished Lunch in Paris over the weekend. I read this in short bursts of time over my lunch hours at work--it's a perfect read for that. It's subtitled "A Love Story, with Recipes," but I found myself much more interested in the love story part than the recipes. Frankly, the recipes seemed almost like an afterthought here. I'm a little tired of the "memoir with recipes" format, unless it's done very very well (as in A Homemade Life, for example, which I loved). That said, it was really interesting to read Elizabeth Bond's perceptions of the cultural differences between Paris and New York (where she is originally from). Especially interesting was the differences she noticed in food and eating. The French really do have tinier portion sizes and a very different attitude towards eating. Eating is just a more formal, sit down event. On the one hand it's very admirable and keeps everybody thin. On the other hand, when the author just wants some comfort Chinese food and movie watching on the comfy couch, it's really hard for her French husband to relate to and to join in (although he tries). There's another interesting scene where the author is sitting around the table with a family group, her mother-in-law included, and is made to feel deeply ashamed for requesting a "normal" slice of cake rather than a tiny one. I found that very sad! There are a lot of other cultural comparisons the author makes, but she does end up settling in and loving her life in Paris. It's a fun read.
Related: here is a very interesting article on food and weight gain while living in New York, written by a French woman. The opposite perspective!