L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home

Crown. Nov. 2017. 368p. illus. index. ISBN 9780804188388. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780804188395. COOKING
The latest installment by chef and blogger Lebovitz (My Paris Kitchen) is a memoir/cookbook hybrid. For the memoir portion, the author details his misadventures as an expat in France searching for an apartment to buy and renovate. Cultures clash as he tries to explain the appeal of large appliances, open-plan kitchens, and commercial ovens to those who find cooking odors wafting into the living room distasteful. A significant part of the book outlines his ongoing battles with a less than stellar contractor whose questionable workmanship cost him time and money. Interspersed with this recounting of renovation gone wrong are recipes loosely connected to themes in the narrative. The recipes presented, ranging from a three-ingredient ham sandwich to a daunting vanilla eclair made from scratch, are updates on classic French dishes, refreshing drinks and desserts, and treats that remind the author of his American roots, such as marshmallow creme fudge. The complexity, both in terms of ingredient list and preparation, varies wildly.
VERDICT For fans of Lebovitz's writing and culinary work as well as those interested in humorous expat memoirs.
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