The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Take a culinary journey with author John Baxter through the world of French cooking from Paris to Nice to Normandy to Alsace-Lorraine.  Along the way he tells the fascinating history of certain foods, exotic ingredients, restaurants, both good and bad, and the lives of the famous and infamous, all to be found in the remarkable world of French haute cuisine.  Bon appetit!


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


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.

About the Author

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-Prés neighborhood, in the same building Sylvia Beach called home.

Praise For…

“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.”

“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

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062088062
ISBN-10: 0062088068
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: February 26th, 2013
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: P.S.