An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French
By Harriet Welty Rochefort
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312642785, 224pp.)
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
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Peter Mayle may have spent a year in Provence, but Harriet Welty Rochefort writes from the wise perspective of one who has spent more than twenty years living among the French. From a small town in Iowa to the City of Light, Harriet has done what so many dream of one day doing-she picked up and moved to France. But it has not been twenty years of fun and games; Harriet has endured her share of cultural bumps, bruises, and psychic adjustments along the way.
In French Toast, she shares her hard-earned wisdom and does as much as one woman can to demystify the French. She makes sense of their ever-so-French thoughts on food, money, sex, love, marriage, manners, schools, style, and much more. She investigates such delicate matters as how to eat asparagus, how to approach Parisian women, how to speak to merchants, how to drive, and, most important, how to make a seven-course meal in a silk blouse without an apron! Harriet's first-person account offers both a helpful reality check and a lot of very funny moments.
Harriet Welty Rochefort was born in Shenandoah, Iowa. She moved permanently to France in 1971. She is a freelance journalist who has contributed articles to major newspapers and magazine, including Time and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her column, "A Letter from Paris," can be found on-line in the Paris Pages. She has also taught journalism in the English Department of the prestigious Institut d'Etudes Politiques. She, her husband, Phillipe, and their sons live in Paris.
"On the subject of French ways and habits, French Toast remains the gold standard. A classic!"--Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce
"A book that goes beyond the clichés of fashion folly, exploring instead the nooks and crannies of French society and the French psyche with aplomb and great humor.... French Toast is gem of a book ... A perennial must-read manifesto for travelers and expats alike. "
--Debra Ollivier, author of Entre Nous
"When someone calls you mon cher ami, does in literally mean 'dear friend', or, as is often the case, 'drop dead'?.. Should you shower before making love?... Rochefort offers answers by the score. Even longtime foreign residents of France have become grateful readers…. Wise and devastatingly funny." --The Los Angeles Times
“Great fun to read and over too soon.” –Library Journal
"French Toast includes the most delightful barbs at France's subtle but deep-rooted codes of behavior." --Leslie Caron, star of An American in Paris, Gigi, and Lili