Friday, November 7, 2008

Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas

If you love food, family and Paris, as I do, I'm sure you will enjoy reading this delightful memoir, perfect for the approaching holiday season, by author John Baxter: Immoveable Feast, A Paris Christmas.

An Australian, now entirely at home in France, Mr. Baxter describes his first encounter with his soon-to-be wife's formidable and numerous French family at a Christmas gathering just outside Paris. Having arrived in Paris two weeks prior to the event with a limited grasp on the language, and heretofore unknown to most of the family, the evening was to be the first of many rites-of-passage over the next 18 years, during which time he falls in love with his adopted French family, French food, Paris and, ultimately, all of France.

Eventually Mr. Baxter takes on the preparation, which continues to this day, of the steeped-in-tradition French Family Christmas Dinner, and turns the family's culinary customs on their ear as he seeks to make his own artistic statement.

Sprinkled with charming and humorous anecdotal side stories, the book is mostly about the mishap laden planning and preparation leading up to that premier event, culminating in the often hilarious reactions of his wife, Marie-Dominique's, staid and sometimes zany French family.

Mr. Baxter has a delightful way with the pen and I was completely enthralled with his story from beginning to end. This book would be a perfect holiday gift for anyone who enjoys seeking out the best that they can offer for their loved ones and lovingly preparing it for a holiday table.

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