Book Review for Light Summer Reading: French Lessons by Peter Mayle

book-review-french-lessonsIf you like to beguile the slow, hot summer hours with a good food book, you will love this one.

Author Peter Mayle, famous for his series of books on life in Provence as a British ex-pat, traveled left Provence to get a better taste of  food festivals in other regions. He sat down at long trestle tables all over France and celebrated frog’s legs with plenty of garlic. Blissful cheeses. Chickens with blue feet.

Mayle experiences a wine tasting that goes on all afternoon and needs “a medicinal bottle of champagne” to cure the resulting hangover. (Something like what this reviewer experienced after the IsraWine Expo 2010.)A truffle auction that kicks off at early Mass. A marathon where sweating, cross-dressing runners wait for each other to catch up. Hilariously, the proper etiquette involved in kissing a fellow Frenchman.

My favorite story is how Mayle and his wife stay at a luxurious spa, from where they emerge bright-eyed, bushy-tailed- and licking their lips over the “duck, lamb, guinea fowl, pâté, cheese, butter, eggs, foie gras, potato soup, and huge croissants. ” Well, it’s a French spa, after all.

A greedy book, like many of Mayle’s books. Yet surprisingly to those who only know him as a food writer, he has authored a number of educational books, including a sensible series on sex education for children and young adults.

French Lessons, and Mayle’s other foodie books, A Year in Provence, Encore Provence, and Toujours Provence, make great, fun summer reading for people who like to put their book down feeling hungry.

More tasty book reviews from Green Prophet:


French Lessons, Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew. Vintage Books, Random House, ISBN 0-375-71332-8.

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