The best books with a taste of France

Jackie Kai Ellis Author Of The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris
By Jackie Kai Ellis

The Books I Picked & Why

The Art of Eating

By Joan Reardon, M. F. K. Fisher

The Art of Eating

Why this book?

Dotted with stories of her life in France, M.F.K. Fisher’s intertwined food and life in such a natural way that it would make you wonder if they were not just one after all. As I read through this anthology of her works, I was drawn into her stories of Sunday picnics by swimming holes, of pre-war Paris, warming segments of clementine on radiators while watching soldiers soldier. I was taken by the way she placed modest words beside one another to create images, tastes, and smells so whole that I could have sworn the memories were my own.

When I began writing a book of my own stories, I naturally thought of M.F.K. Fisher. With her as my muse, I recalled memories of being fed as a child, my belly warm and full of savoury porridges dotted with rustic dumplings that my grandmother would spin out of leftovers, stories of bustling markets in full bloom, of losing loved ones, stories of losing, and finding myself, in Paris and the kitchen.


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New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

By Lindsey Tramuta

New Paris: The People, Places & Ideas Fueling a Movement

Why this book?

Written by my talented friend, a Paris-based journalist for publications such as The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar Magazine, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine. Lindsey Tramuta has taken her journalistic curiosity and written a cultural study-meets-guide book for those who are wanting to explore Paris from a new perspective, from one of a true, modern Parisienne.


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Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way: A Recipe Book

By Rebekah Peppler

Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way: A Recipe Book

Why this book?

Another beautiful book with beautiful photography by a dear friend in Paris, Rebekah Peppler. This James Beard nominated recipe book takes you through how to create a classic apéro through the seasons, and then inventive riffs. I’ve personally tried so many of these recipes and they have you dreaming and yearning for that moment with friends, setting suns, chilled glasses and the sound of crystal in celebration of another day.


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Art of Viennoiserie and Festival of Tarts

By Joël Bellouet

Art of Viennoiserie and Festival of Tarts

Why this book?

This is a lesser-known book written for pastry professionals by the school I attended in Paris. To date, it is the best resource for technique and recipes for viennoiserie and traditional pastries that I have seen. Though beware, it is very much for the professional and hasn’t been well translated, but for those pastry fanatics needing a good challenge, this is it.


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French Pastry 101: Learn the Art of Classic Baking with 60 Beginner-Friendly Recipes

By Betty Hung

French Pastry 101: Learn the Art of Classic Baking with 60 Beginner-Friendly Recipes

Why this book?

My apprentice, Betty Hung, who eventually inherited the bakery I founded, has written an award-winning recipe book on French pastries. It’s wonderfully photographed, well-tested and informative. I am always proud to see her create with such precision and success.


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