The Perfect Meal

The Perfect Meal : In Search of the Lost Tastes of France

3.63 (279 ratings by Goodreads)
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IACP Cookbook Award Winner (Culinary Travel)

John Baxter's The Perfect Meal is part grand tour of France, part history of French cuisine, taking readers on a journey to discover and savor some of the world's great cultural achievements before they disappear completely.

Some of the most revered and complex elements of French cuisine are in danger of disappearing as old ways of agriculture, butchering, and cooking fade and are forgotten. In this charming culinary travel memoir, John Baxter follows up his bestselling The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by taking his readers on the hunt for some of the most delicious and bizarre endangered foods of France.

The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France is the perfect read for foodies and Francophiles, cooks and gastronomists, and fans of food culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 124 x 178 x 24mm | 280g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperPerennial
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062088068
  • 9780062088062
  • 157,618

Review quote

"A mouthwatering, erudite journey through France's foodie heritage, some of which might be lost forever without the likes of Baxter recalling and showcasing them for today's diner." -- France Today "Baxter's command of French history and culture offers the reader a cornucopia of anecdote and detail worth savoring." -- Booklist "Full of humor, insight, and mouth-watering details, The Perfect Meal is a delightful tour of `traditional' French culture and cuisine." -- Travel and Leisure "The most valuable (and equally endangered) tradition restored by Baxter is the oral one. Local characters, friends, chefs, and enthusiasts enliven his quest and reveal each element in the evolution of the menu to be part of a collective cognitive lineage. A must read for foodies, Francophiles, and armchair travelers." -- Library Journal "Delightful. ... This is one of those delicious books that tickles the psyche, seduces the senses, and effortlessly enlarges the intellect simultaneously." -- Publishers Weekly "We are the beneficiaries of John Baxter's considerable, vivid love for the expatriate life in Paris." -- Los Angeles Times "Reading [John Baxter] is the next best thing to a Paris vacation." -- Boston Globe "A wonderful mix of travel memoir and French culinary history." -- Shelf Awareness "On a quest to find the soul of traditional French cuisine, John Baxter journeys from Paris to Provence. Along the way, he digs into bowls of bouillabaisse, confiture de vieux garcon and other classics." -- AAA World Magazine Winner - Culinary Travel -- IACP COOKBOOK AWARDS
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Back cover copy

IACP Cookbook Award Winner (Culinary Travel)

Part Grand Tour of France, part history of French cuisine: an irresistible journey, from Paris to Provence, to find "the perfect meal"

An expat Paris resident for more than twenty years, John Baxter began noticing an alarming trend: just as species of plants and animals are rapidly facing extinction globally, so too are the traditional ingredients and techniques of classic French cooking and eating. Indeed, he worried that the soul of the world's most revered national cuisine is in danger of disappearing, as centuries-old ways of cooking, preparation, and farming wither away. Spurred to action, Baxter set off across the country on an unforgettable quest to taste the last great French dishes before they disappear forever--from Paris's surviving haute cuisine establishments to the tiny local restaurants that still serve the remarkable regional dishes of Provence, Normandy, Cote d'Azur, and more.
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About John Baxter

John Baxter has lived in Paris for more than twenty years. He is the author of four acclaimed memoirs about his life in France: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France; The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris; Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas; and We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light. Baxter, who gives literary walking tours through Paris, is also a film critic and biographer whose subjects have included the directors Fellini, Kubrick, Woody Allen, and most recently, Josef von Sternberg. Born in Australia, he lives with his wife and daughter in the Saint-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood, in the same building Sylvia Beach called home.
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Rating details

279 ratings
3.63 out of 5 stars
5 17% (47)
4 41% (113)
3 34% (94)
2 7% (19)
1 2% (6)
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