For sixty years the best food writers have been sending dispatches from Paris to Gourmet. At once unique and universal, these essays by Joseph Wechsberg, Naomi Barry, and Diane Johnson, among others, present tantalizing glimpses of culinary life in the world capital of love and food.From unforgettable vignettes of resourceful chefs feeding hungry Parisians after World War II to the birth and rise of nouvelle cuisine - it's all here- the old-time bourgeois dinners, the tastemakers, the hero-chefs, and, of course, Paris in all its charm, arrogance, and splendid refinement.
In our hard economic times when travel - well, at least my travel - has become extremely limited, a book like this one is a delicious bon bon to be consumed in little bites to savor over the days, or to be gorged upon in one big gulp.
Once Paris emerged from the doldrums of the war years and their associated privations, it didn't take long for it to reassert its rightful position at the pinnacle of the gourmet world and the essays in this book are a testament to that Paris and the magic it conjured. Several writers tend to predominate, obviously because they were correspondents for larger chunks of time and the book reflects the writing style of those writers pretty much to the exclusion of the others. In particular, essays by Naomi Barry and Joseph Wechsberg are gems of history and fascinating insights into a world that has largely been displaced by more recent developments. It's a reminder of a Paris we all probably still think of in a nostalgic mood, even while acknowledging that it's a world that belongs to yesterday.