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  • Published: 2 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143125921
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $34.99

Mastering the Art of French Eating

From Paris Bistros to Farmhouse Kitchens, Lessons in Food and Love



A memoir in food: a blend of travel, gastronomic history, and the personal journey of a young wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris when her diplomat husband is posted to Iraq

The memoir of a young diplomat’s wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris—one dish at a time

When journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down.

So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city.  Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

Like Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French and Julie Powell’s New York Times bestseller Julie and Julia, Mastering the Art of French Eating is interwoven with the lively characters Ann meets and the traditional recipes she samples. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story about love—of food, family, and France.

  • Published: 2 January 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143125921
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $34.99

Praise for Mastering the Art of French Eating

"Mastering the Art of French Eating makes you want to be in Paris as [Mah] describes the delight of crusty baguettes spread with butter and jam, surprise glimpses of Notre Dame caught from the bus, nursing a glass of red wine in a cafe that has mirrored columns and a zinc bar. . . . the book has appealing honesty and vulnerability, overlaid as it is with the pain of her husband's absence. It will also make you very hungry."
--Wall Street Journal

"Mah admirably fits her research into easily digested bites, the reader's enthusiasm mirroring her own."
--The New York Times Book Review

"A well-written entrée into French dining."
--The Daily Beast

"Our readers were enraptured by [Mah's] luscious and detailed descriptions of the meals that became the rich medium for a lonely wife's tentative socializing in a strange land."
--Elle

"Whether you're French or Francophile, a long-time connoisseur of French food or someone who's just figuring out the difference between frites and frangipane, feasting through France with Ann Mah is a delicious adventure. Ann's writing is lovely, her curiosity boundless and her good taste assured. Spending time with her in Mastering the Art of French Eating is a treat."
--Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table and owner of Beurre & Sel Cookies

"Ann Mah dishes up a welcoming concoction, a good dose of French history, a personal, vibrant, enthusiastic picture of life in a country she adores, without apology. I am hungry already!"
--Patricia Wells, author of The Food Lover's Guide to Paris and Simply Truffles

"Excellent ingredients, carefully prepared and very elegantly served. A really tasty book."
--Peter Mayle, author of The Marseille Caper and A Year in Provence

"Like a bowl of homemade cassoulet, this book is warm to the touch. Ann Mah writes about her international experiences--and origins--with great sensitivity. She gives us a peek into French kitchens foodies will envy, and no Francophile could resist."
--Elizabeth Bard, author of Lunch in Paris

"From the peaks of the French Alps to Brittany's buckwheat fields, Lyon's bouchons to Burgundy's wineries, Ann takes us all over France in pursuit of its culinary traditions. But at the heart of her story is Paris--and all the love, wistfulness and deliciousness found there."
--Amy Thomas, author of Paris, My Sweet