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

Who am I?

Jackie Kai Ellis is a designer, bestselling author, pastry chef, entrepreneur, lifestyle writer, and other bits n’ bobs. Jackie left design to pursue her passion for pastry in Paris. After finishing her studies, she founded the award-winning pâtisserie, Beaucoup Bakery & Café in Vancouver – featured in countless publications and media including Bon Appétit Magazine. Jackie turned her passion for authentic storytelling and launched her bestselling memoir, The Measure of My Powers: A memoir of food, misery, and Paris,.


I wrote...

The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris

By Jackie Kai Ellis,

Book cover of The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris

What is my book about?

On the surface, Jackie Kai Ellis's life was the one that she and every woman wanted. She was in her late twenties and married to a handsome man, she had a successful career as a designer, and she had a beautiful home. But instead of feeling fulfilled, happy, and loved, each morning she'd wake up dreading the day ahead, searching for a way out. Depression clouded every moment, the feelings of inadequacy that had begun in childhood now consumed her, and her marriage was slowly transforming into one between strangers--unfamiliar, childless, and empty. In the darkness, she could only find one source of light: the kitchen. It was the place where Jackie escaped, finding peace, comfort, and acceptance.

The books I picked & why

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The Art of Eating

By Joan Reardon, M.F.K. Fisher,

Book cover of 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.


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

By Lindsey Tramuta,

Book cover of The 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.


Apéritif: Cocktail Hour the French Way: A Recipe Book

By Rebekah Peppler,

Book cover of 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.


Art of Viennoiserie and Festival of Tarts

By Joël Bellouet,

Book cover of 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.


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

By Betty Hung,

Book cover of 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in France, pastries, and cocktails?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about France, pastries, and cocktails.

France Explore 587 books about France
Pastries Explore 9 books about pastries
Cocktails Explore 35 books about cocktails

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Bruno, Chief of Police, The Little Paris Bookshop, and Verdura if you like this list.