French Fried: The Culinary Capers Of An American In Paris

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Macmillan, Mar 7, 2001 - Cooking - 292 pages
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"When I think of the French paradox, I remember a lunch with an eighty-five-year-old French woman who was trim and slim and as agile as a twenty-year-old. Her secret? 'My doctor told me to drink a glass of red wine-- Bordeaux-- at lunch and at dinner.' She does, and is going strong!"-- from French Fried

French Toast author Harriet Welty Rochefort continues her attempts to demystify the French with French Fried, the saucy-- sometimes spicy-- and often hilarious tale of one American woman's thirty-year foray into the byzantine world of French cuisine.

And when it comes to food, Rochefort's experiences are anything but dull or traditional. When she first arrives in France, she dines on onion soup with her concierge. When she finally gets a decent apartment with a kitchen (in which she doesn't cook), it turns out that there's both a shower-- and a cop-- in it.

But after marrying a Frenchman, Philippe, the jig is up. Cooking, she realizes, will now be part of her life whether she likes it or not. Digging her heels, she graduates from opening cans of peas to casually knocking out two major three-course meals a day in no time at all. Rochefort shares these and other intimate details of her culinary progression, including her most impressive disasters (the plastic sandwich fiasco), as well as her successes. She takes us into French "hypermarkets," invites us to join her family for a typical six-course Sunday lunch in the country, includes us in a pastry class at Len˘tre, and introduces us to some nice and some not-so-nice Parisian waiters.

In a style that's a cross between Erma Bombeck and M.F.K. Fisher, Rochefort tells the entertaining story of how she, an American raised on meat and potatoes, learned to appreciate food Ó la francaise. Globalization and standardization may menace Gallic cuisine-- but not for long, if Rochefort is there to defend it.

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French fried: the culinary capers of an American in Paris

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Here are two culinary memoirs by American women now living in France. The similarities end there, as one author went to France for the food and stayed for the life that grew up around her, while the ... Read full review


Acknowledgments xi
Soupe a Ioignon
Salade de boeuf du potaufeu Jeanne
Meandering through markets La Mouffe A stroll through
Philippes Homemade Heart Attack Mayonnaise
Is offal awful?
Le pain le vin et le fromafi
Bistros brasseries and restaurants Be your own restaurant critic
Le Big Mac French fast food and street food Incorporating food
pirally French Slow Food in die Provinces

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About the author (2001)

Harriet Welty Rochefort is a freelance journalist and author of French Toast. Born in Shenandoah, Iowa, she lives in Paris with her husband and their sons. Her Web site is

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