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October Book Review: How to Eat a Small Country: A Family’s Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time by Amy Finlay

How to Eat a Small Country: A Family’s Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time by Amy Finlay, 2011.

I picked up this book from Amazon a few months ago and I’ve been savouring it ever since.

I dream of eating my way around the world and Amy’s escape to France really appealed to me. A mouth watering, sometimes icky account of a mother’s culinary tour around the romantic French countryside to save her sanity, her family and her marriage.

Amy is not your typical American foodie. She’s adventurous, strong willed and very creative. If you like reading to whet your appetite, this book is for you. She bares it all and it’s books like these that make me sad that people don’t read much anymore. This is not a stuffy touchy feely book, but it sure cuts and makes you feel. She doesn’t have all the answers and her writing style reminds us that we’re all just doing what we can.

Read this if you…

  1. If you’ve been to France and want to revisit it from the comfort of your own home
  2. If you’ve always wanted to go to France
  3. If you love travel eating
  4. Are a foodie with a young family
  5. Love French food and culture

Some of my favourite morsels from How to Eat a Small Country…

“The best bouillabaisse on the planet was the one that your mother the fishwife made, and to suggest otherwise was to invite the kind of spider monkey throw-down usually reserved for prison mess halls and biker bars.”

“So, you want to be a cheesemaker?” I tease. “I don’t know about that, Indy. I’m pretty sure it gets awful lonely up here.” He’s affronted dignity personified. “I’m already lonely, Mom,” he attests and hooks a thumb toward Monsieur at the cash register. “At least this guy gets cheese.”

“The indisputable fact that roasted chicken tasted better at my grandma’s house than anywhere else in the world is how I first came to understand the mysterious concept of terrior. Grandma’s chicken tasted like her house: comfortable, comforting. That’s a bit of a bastardization, in that the real definition of terrior is that everything tastes uniquely of its place, but it got me there conceptually.”

“…being intimately involved in the procurement of food–through slaughter or harvest, gathering or tending–gives one great respect for the act of eating. It’s not the only way, of course, to become a respectful eater, but it helps.”

So yeah…

A great French foodie memoir. You’ll want to make some of her recipes and eat charcuterie, cheese, drink wine and visit some rustic French restaurants after reading this book. Amy’s brutally honest style is like you are right there in the french countryside with her and her family.

Book reviews:

For those that have just joined, as part of my new year’s resolutions (read more books) I am hoping to read and review a food related book every month during 2012. Click here to read my other book reviews.


    • OooOOoh! What book are you reading?

      I have to admit, when I read this book, I couldn’t help but picture it was your family. Amy’s kids Indiana and Scarlett could be D Man and Kiki in a couple of years. Indiana is very much like his mother. I guess like D Man is like you?

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