I’ve always had a dreamy, earnest impression of Paris the City, which I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting once–and that was in high school.
But food writer and Chez Panisse veteran David Lebovitz fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2002 by moving from San Francisco to Paris, and after a few years in the country, his impressions of the city were radically different from my idealized, touristy version.
Lebovitz has written a fair number of cult pastry cookbooks, but his fifth book, The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious–and Perplexing–City, takes the cake. This food/travel/memoir/guidebook chronicles the ups and downs of his move to Paris. The “ups” are inspiring (think butter, chocolate, croissants) but the downs are even better. At least for the reader.
Lebovitz’s anecdotes about Parisians’ baffling quirks are completely surprising and laugh-out-loud funny (though I can’t say I’d recommend his brand of humor to, say, my grandmother).
(His recipes are excellent. I don’t bake sweets much anymore (le sigh), but I’ve never been disappointed in a Lebovitz recipe.)
To get even cult-ier (that’s not a real word, but you get what I mean), check out Lebovitz’s Paris Pastry Guide. More tourist guidebook than browsing material, I’d save this for when you actually have a trip to France on the calendar.
Talk to me about David Lebovitz and Parisian adventures, OR hit us with your favorite cult classic cookbook in comments.
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This is the twenty-eighth post in a series, 31 Days of Cult Classics. You can click here to see a list of all the posts, updated everyday in the month of October.