14 January 2009

Review: French Lessons by Peter Mayle

My Summary: Most people know Peter Mayle from his delightful memoir A Year in Provence, which describes the British author's adjustment to living in the French countryside. In French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew, Mayle travels throughout his adopted country to savor a selection of typical French fare.

With his usual charm and self-deprecating humor, Mayle takes us from his first Parisian meal (of upscale fish and chips) to a frog-leg festival, a mass held in honor of truffles, wine-tasting opportunities, and a look behind the scenes of the Michelin guide. Among other adventures is a trip to Normandy to learn about pungent cheeses and delectable ciders. Throughout, we are treated to a sense of a culture just a step removed from the modern frenzied pace.

For example,

Lunch progresses at an unhurried pace, as all good lunches should. People eat more slowly on Sundays, and drink a little more wine than usual. They forget to look at their watches. Two hours slip by, often more. Eventually, with appetites satisfied, a drowsy calm comes over the room as the plates are cleared away, the tablecloths are brushed, and coffee is served. A lazy afternoon lies ahead: a book, a doze, a swim. The chef makes a ceremonial tour of the tables, gathering compliments, happy to share with you one or two favorite recipes. Curiously, these dishes never taste quite the same at home, no matter how carefully the recipe is followed, no matter how talented the cook. There is something about Sunday lunch in a French country restaurant that goes beyond food (p. 19).
My Thoughts: This is must-read for all Mayle fans. If you're new to the author, start with A Year in Provence, the best (in my opinion) of his memoirs.

I read this book for a number of reading challenges (listed below). For more information about them and to see what other participants are reading, click on the name above the progress bar in the left column.

Published by Random House, 2002
ISBN-13: 9780375705618
Challenges: Winter Reading, A-Z Title, 100+, Buy One
YTD: 4
Rating: B+


Marie Cloutier 1/14/09, 6:43 AM  

Sounds like good Francophile fun :-)

Marie Cloutier 1/14/09, 6:44 AM  

oh nice that you're an indiebound affiliate too- not that many of us in the blogosphere! :-)

Alea 1/14/09, 7:09 AM  

Oh wow, that sounds delicious! :)

Sandy Nawrot 1/14/09, 7:33 AM  

I absolutely loved A Year in Provence. I was convinced to read it by a friend who actually was so inspired by the book, he moved his family to France to live for a year! (What the heck?) I will make sure to read this one too, and tell my friend about it!

Anonymous,  1/14/09, 8:07 AM  

I loved A Year in Provence, too, so I need to check this one out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Unknown 1/14/09, 9:14 AM  

I just wanted to pop in and say how much I love your heading picture! Is that Venice? I was in Venice in November, several years ago, it was pretty...but your picture is so much prettier with the flowers and plants, etc.
I also loved a couple of the things on your side-bar, so if I can't figure out how you did them..I might be back and begging for help. haha!

Nely 1/14/09, 9:20 AM  

This sounds delightful. Thanks for the review. I'll just add it to my list of wanna reads.

Beth F 1/14/09, 9:38 AM  

Kris: the photo is from Brugge. I've finally added that to my "photo" note in my sidebar. I get asked that question a lot.

Anything you want to know about my sidebar items, just ask!

Anonymous,  1/14/09, 9:10 PM  

Oh, I loved *A Year in Provence*! Thanks for sharing this review of *French Lessons* with us ... I'll be adding to my wish list :)

Anonymous,  1/14/09, 10:48 PM  

This sounds like Mayle's Acquired Tastes, which I really loved - I will definitely be adding this one to my list.

Michele 1/15/09, 3:59 AM  

Okey dokey - this sounds nice, but I will take your advice and read A Year in Provence first. Nice review! You hooked me!

Anonymous,  1/15/09, 7:46 AM  

There is NO way I'd read this. The last food mentioned in a book sent me on a month long craving of just that one item. UGH!

Beth F 1/15/09, 8:15 AM  

Belle: yes, a lot like Acquired Tates -- and he's such fun to read.

J. Kaye: Ha!!!!! I doubt you'd go on a month-long search for snails or frog legs!

Anonymous,  1/15/09, 8:18 AM  

I don't know...if it sounded good, I might. I'd be heading for those truffles though!

S. Krishna 1/15/09, 9:35 AM  

A Year in Provence is definitely on my TBR list.

BookChook 1/23/09, 7:25 PM  

I loved year in Provence, too. I didn't know of this one and would love to read it. Thanks for your review!

Unknown 11/7/12, 11:12 AM  

Your review about French lesson is really informative. It is really great work.I like French culture, tradition, Language, French food etc . Last summer I have visited France as well as I have visited french restaurant. I have enjoyed French food very much.

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

I cannot turn off word verification, but if you are logged into Blogger you can ignore the captcha. I have set posts older than 14 days to be on moderation. I can no longer accept anonymous comments. I'm so sorry if this means you have to register or if you have trouble commenting.


All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2020. All rights reserved.



To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

Quick Linker



  © Blogger template Coozie by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP