Eat Smart in France – Book Review

Kris Kalav from The Beerman Chronicles

How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure By Ronnie Hess

Lunch – Fruits du Mer overlooking the Nice Marina by GregW

About the Author:

Ronnie Hess is an author, journalist, English teacher, and chef. She has lived and worked in France, studying gastronomy with a passion for the art itself.


The Introduction:

This entry to the Eat Smart series of guides tackles French cuisine in a most interesting manner. It is not simply about the cooking, but rather it covers the historical and regional aspects of how the foods came to be what they are today, immersing the reader in the culture of the country. It brought back memories of the aromas around an open air market in Paris so many years ago…..the bread, the cheese, the garlic…..

The Review:

This book is absolutely delicious, cover to cover. I feared I would actually eat the pages; that’s how descriptive the author made the food of France.

This book is absolutely delicious, cover to cover. I feared I would actually eat the pages; that’s how descriptive the author made the food of France. The first chapter is dedicated to a brief history of French cuisine, from the beginning of human habitation to present day, with a slight lament that fast food may have become the mode of choice for the citizens of France. Fast food has its place, but dining is more than eating; it plays a large role in the social structure of humankind.

The second chapter covers the regional variations found throughout the country, and though the main ingredients can be essentially the same, the seasonings and style of cooking are vast and unique. Geography plays an important factor in what is prepared and how it is presented.

The third chapter presents a few recipes for each course of a meal. They appear easy to prepare, and I will definitely work on making the tomato and red pepper tart!!!

The remainder of the guide explains food shopping in France, presents a very nice list of resources for finding ingredients, shows the reader some useful phrases to use when dining at a restaurant (complete with a pronunciation guide – VERY helpful), reveals a comprehensive list of items one would find on a menu, and finally gives the reader a dictionary –like list of ingredients, cooking utensils, and cooking methods, in both French and English.

This guide is for people who appreciate that food should be more than something that is pre-processed, pre-packaged garbage, filled with preservatives, fillers, and artificial ingredients. French cuisine and sitting around a table with friends and family for hours on end over plates and bowls filled with new and unusual foodstuffs are things everyone should experience, if for no other reason than it enriches the soul and makes life good.

Now, what to have for dinner tonight………

Buy now: Eat Smart in France: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure on Amazon.

Editor’s notes: This article contains affiliate links. The book was also received compliments of Ginko Press and University of Wisconsin Press for review.

About the author:

After years of traveling to various destinations, Kris Kalav decided it was time to create The Beerman Chronicles. It is a "young" blog but beer will be mentioned at some point.

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Discussion »

  • #1Chuck Clayton

    I have been to France once and had a tremendously delicious meal with our travel group. For those who want to go to the next level and know more this sounds like an excellent book.



  • #2Pradipta

    A good guide for those who are planning French vacation. Being a foodie I really liked this post. Thanks!

  • #3Eugene

    We have yet to visit France, but when we do I will be sure to check out this book before we do any food shopping in France. Thanks a lot!

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