A “Sweet” Inspiration: On Reading The Sweet Life in Paris

The Sweet Life in ParisI’ve had some time off since the holidays… hallelujah! It’s been a long time coming since vacationing last February. What’s funny about days off though is that for however much one wants these days to come, the days are never enough. Especially when I’ve just settled into a good book by David Lebovitz, The Sweet Life in Paris.

I have 4 days off. That’s a weekend and 2 days off additional. Not much of a vacation, but enough to rest, enough to mute my thoughts about work… that lingering question about how else I can reconnect with food in a way that I can translate it into words. Because preparing sandwiches really can barely scratch the mind, let alone stimulate it. Shall I go back to rereading The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher? Gosh, I only have 4 days and the heft of that book feels like one of those anthologies I used to lug around in college. Perhaps, The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz… why not?

The Sweet Life in Paris is about David Lebovitz life in Paris. A former pastry chef from Chez Panisse, this is basically his dream to live in Paris realized and Mr. Lebovitz details his life and observations through some humorous and sometimes uncanny vignettes. I’ve never been to France myself and my experience with the French have been, well at best, lukewarm (except of course for one of my dorm mates from college… she’s the exception), but I’ve found joy in this book because for a moment, within a period of 4 days, I’m whisked away to Paris, where, in my mind, I am imagining myself in line at a bakery where I can get a small paper bag full of chocolate chip cream puffs or at a patisserie ordering a cup of hot chocolate which arrives, topped with an overwhelming mound of chantilly cream.

Hardly how I thought I would spend my 4 days, but The Sweet Life in Paris is exactly what I’ve been looking for to inspire me back to food. When one works with food, one becomes a little lost sometimes. When the repetition of our daily routines begin to mimic the movie Groundhog Day, we begin to spiral and ball up into uninspired creatures. David Lebovitz shares with his readers recipes that are approachable, recipes that reconnected me with my time in the pastry kitchen… those recipes I enjoyed making myself. I wanted to do them again, reimagine them. Cakes, quickbreads and pate a choux, how can I turn them gluten free? I don’t have the answers now, but all it takes is a spark to get one’s passion going again. And as I continue to read about David’s life in Paris, I know that inspiration is seeping through the skin because my hands are itching to mix, knead and fold once again. Even if there are only 4 days, I hope the inspiration I’ve received from The Sweet Life in Paris is enough to keep me going for the entire year.

Read something inspiring! Have a fantastic and Happy New Year Everyone!

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