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He discovered the social necessity of pressing every wrinkle out of his clothes, even from his jeans and his towels.

The Sweet Life in Paris - David Lebovitz

Some of these pastries display their Parisian provenance, an absinthe cake in particular standing out. But he also includes popular Mexican mole and crispy pork carnitas, about as exotic to most Parisians as one could imagine. An annotated list of food and equipment sources brims with good information. If Paris intrigues, excites, or merely interests you, read this book. He baked at several notable restaurants before starting his career as a cookbook author and food writer.

His popular, award-winning blog, www. After all, who in their right mind would wear a sweater to a chocolate shop, anyway? It could have been the moment when I listened intently as two Parisian friends explained to me why the French are so determined to clip the pointed tips off haricots verts before cooking them.

Or was it to prevent the little points from getting stuck in your teeth, which the other one assured me would happen? I was spending a lazy Sunday in my apartment lounging around in faded sweatpants and a loose, tattered sweatshirt, my ideal outfit for doing nothing in particular. With the elevator door exactly three steps from my front door and the garbage room just five steps from the elevator landing at the bottom, the trip involves basically four movements—walk out the door, take the elevator down, dump the garbage, and go back up.

The whole process should take maybe forty-five seconds. So I extracted myself from the sofa, shaved, changed into a pair of real pants, tucked in a clean wrinkle-free shirt, and slipped on a pair of shoes and socks before heading toward the door with my little plastic sac for the poubelle. God forbid I should run into someone from my building while wearing my Sunday worst. And that, mes amis, was when I realized I had become Parisian.

Think about it for a minute: how many waiters, taxi drivers, hotel clerks, shopkeepers, and others in your hometown could or would respond to a French person who spoke only French? And almost all Europeans coming to our shores make it a point to adapt to our customs. Well, almost all. Every culture has certain rules. To live in a foreign country you need to learn the rules, especially if you plan to stay.

And I had to learn plenty. Why bother getting lost in the labyrinth of historic cities, dining on regional delicacies, sleeping with total strangers in youth hostels, and soaping up in communal showers with a team of Italian soccer players? But back then, I had quite a time doing most of those things. But explore I did.

New Arrivals

I spent almost a year traipsing around the continent after college doing nothing in particular except learning about European cultures, primarily by pulling up a stool or chair and eating what the locals ate. During that time, I made it through almost every country in Europe and tried whatever local delicacies were to be had: oozing raw- milk cheeses in France and hearty, grain- packed breads in Germany; Belgian milk chocolates that when sniffed, could transport you to a dairy farm in the countryside; and crispy- skin fish grilled over gnarled branches in the souks of Istanbul.

After months of criss-crossing Europe, in dire need of a good, deep scrubbing and a proper haircut to rein in my unruly mop of curls which definitely earned me the term dirty blond , I eventually ran out of steam—and money—and returned to the States. Why spoil the fun? In fact, I can still smell his fruit cobblers filled with apples and kidney beans, baked and scented with his signature handful of cumin, which gave them a distinctly unpleasant odor. On second thought, that might have been him.

It seemed like common sense to me, and simply the right way to eat. So I packed up and moved to San Francisco, just across the bay from Berkeley, where an exciting culinary revolution was simmering. Shopping the outdoor markets of the Bay Area, I discovered farmers who were raising things like blood oranges with tangy, wildly colored juices and tight bunches of deep- violet radicchio, which people at the time assumed were runty heads of cabbage. Laura Chenel was producing European- style moist rounds of fresh goat cheese in Sonoma, which were so unfamiliar that Americans were mistaking them for tofu especially in Berkeley.

I was thrilled—no, astounded—to find the culinary counterparts to everything I had eaten in Europe. I savored the hand- dipped ultrafine chocolates of Alice Medrich at Cocolat, which rivaled those I had swooned over in swanky French chocolate boutiques. Since I believed that if I was really going to pursue a restaurant career I should start at the top, I applied for a job at Chez Panisse, where Alice Waters was leading this culinary revolution I wanted to enlist in.

I sent a letter to the restaurant, waited a few weeks, and got no response. Despite the lack of acknowledgment or enthusiasm on their part, I presented myself at the now- famous redwood archway, ready to embark on my lifelong career as a chef.

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Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Like so many others, David Lebovitz dreamed about living in Paris ever since he first visited the city and after a nearly two-decade career as a pastry chef and cookbook author, he finally moved to Paris to start a new life. Having crammed all his worldly belongings into three suitcases, he arrived, hopes high, at his new apartment in the lively Bastille neighborhood. But he soon discovered it's a different world en France.

From learning the ironclad rules of social conduct to the mysteries of men's footwear, from shopkeepers who work so hard not to sell you anything to the etiquette of working the right way around the cheese plate, here is David's story of how he came to fall in love with—and even understand—this glorious, yet sometimes maddening, city.

When did he realize he had morphed into un vrai parisien? It might have been when he found himself considering a purchase of men's dress socks with cartoon characters on them. Or perhaps the time he went to a bank with euros in hand to make a euro payment, was told the bank had no change that day, and thought it was completely normal.

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City

Or when he found himself dressing up to take out the garbage because he had come to accept that in Paris appearances and image mean everything. Customer Reviews. Average rating: 4 out of 5 stars, based on 24 reviews 24 ratings. See all reviews. Write a review. Most Helpful Review. Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars, based on reviews. See more. Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars, based on 0 reviews. Written by a customer while visiting librarything.

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