Friday, June 3, 2011

When Books Make You Hungry

Wow. Food. If there's anything I love as much as books... (and yes, both habits show). Food in books kicks off cravings (food on tv does the same). My husband knows me so well, he usually picks up on it.

Fortunately, coming from Louisiana, I don't crave a lot of really strange stuff. It's coming in handy a bit with my current read. Louisiana traditions are steeped in French traditions and folks didn't have a lot of money. I've got no desire to eat some of those things. Just, no. But the methods, yes. Braising, slow cooking, local ingredients... and the idea of traveling around, experiencing a country through its food is one that I admire greatly. Reading about it is the next best thing.

Amy Finley, Food Network Next Food Network Star winner from season 3 (yeah, it was kind of a disastrous end of the season. And can I just say that the "branding" way of picking chefs on that show is extremely irksome? It is. Just saying.) has released a food memoir. How to Eat A Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time chronicles the aftermath of winning the show and giving it all up for her family.

And she doesn't hold back in saying just how frustrated she was over the decision (in fact, frustrated is a reserved way of describing it -- I would say there was an intense dislike of her husband for a while and it shows in the book, which kind of leaves me wondering how the book came to be, all things considered). Anyway, in the aftermath -- after the D-word came into play -- Finley decides the only hope is to move the family to France. To get away from it all, focus on each other, and try and put the marriage back together.

And it seems to have worked.

I like Amy Finley. She can write! And she can cook! And while French food as a whole has never been one of my go-tos (cheese, yes! frites, yes! frogs, no!), this book makes me hungry. As I said, I'm keeping it a bit in check. As the family winds their way through the country, hitting up local spots for regional specialties, some are definitely more appealing than others, but Finley's passion for it all comes through so clearly. And rumor has it that Finley is currently working on a cookbook -- I sincerely hope its true.

Be warned, Finley is completely honest about everything (or at least that's how it appears in reading the book), cooking methods, arguments, all of it. Don't say I didn't warn you if you're upset over Thumper as dinner.


Ellie said...

Oh I've been looking for some interesting French food books to feature during Paris in July.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

This book sounds intriguing--I love a good travelog. I never watch the Food Network, so I don't know this woman, but I'll try to look it up at my local indie bookstore.