Imagine a gastronomic romp through Paris weaving the living past into the lively present, the story of the great Parisian conspiracy to enjoy life—the city's centuries-old passion for food, wine, dining out, and entertaining. That's what this book is about.
As a young twenty-something in the 1980s, writer David Downie left America for Paris, moving into a windowless seventh-floor maid’s room near the Arc de Triomphe. Fortunately for him (and for his readers), his apartment had no kitchen, forcing Downie to plumb the city’s myriad restaurants, cafés, and markets in order to feed himself every day. Along the way, he immersed himself in more than 2,000 years of Parisian gastronomic history: the Romans’ love of flavorful greens and foie gras, the pie maker who allegedly inspired Sweeney Todd
, Louis XIV’s 7,000-calorie-a-day “diet,” Honoré de Balzac’s depiction of everyday food in literature, modern chefs’ attempts to have French cuisine protected by UNESCO. The result is an engaging, at times meandering “history of the Parisian love affair with food.
” Bon appétit! (KG)