Seasonal, Local Food Inspired By a Parisian Kitchen: ‘My Paris Market Cookbook’
As I have learned, book writing is not a solo affair. Sure, it may be you and your words together most of the time, but you need a community around you to keep you going.
In my own cookbook writing process I have had the luck to be surrounded by three other women, all of whom have been working on book projects of their own. We shared a lot of lunches talking about said projects. The latest one to come out is my friend Emily Dilling’s book My Paris Market Cookbook.
I’ve mentioned Emily before, she’s the lady behind the Paris Paysanne blog, and like myself, is an advocate of simple, seasonal, real food. Her new cookbook is exactly that, and more.
Let’s be honest: I hate most stuff that’s themed around Paris. It’s the kind of city that’s so iconic that no one dares to criticize it. The outside view of Paris is romanticized, rooted in a version of Paris from several decades ago. I call it Postcard Paris. But cities change. Cultures change. If there’s one thing I love about Paris, it’s all of the things that are not stereotypical Parisian, because it is in fact these non-iconic things that, for me, define the city.
That’s why I love Emily’s book. Ok sure, I would be a terrible friend if I didn’t love it. But I genuinely love it. Because she has managed to capture the essence of real Paris. She doesn’t play into stereotypes, she simply documents all of the people and places that make Paris a real place, not just an imaginary capital that we see in films.
Emily is a like-minded soul, a West Coast, kombucha-making, sourdough-loving, wants-to-have-her-hands-in-the-dirt, advocate of real food like me, so while My Paris Market Cookbook certainly features French inspired recipes, they’re not just French recipes, they’re good recipes. They are the kind of recipes that challenge you to eat in season. They challenge you to think about your food. They challenge you to thank a farmer, and shouldn’t we all be doing more of that?
Part guidebook and part cookbook, the book gives a fresh look at the new face of Paris food, like specialty coffee roasters and microbrewers. Really it’s all about artisans seeking to challenge the status quo, the “status quo” being the longstanding, outdated expectation of what people in the French food world should be doing. It isn’t your mother’s guidebook to Paris, and you wouldn’t want it to be, because that Paris doesn’t exist anymore.
Why a book themed around markets? I’ll let Emily tell you, because she says it best:
“Whenever I visit a new city, the first thing I do is find the local market. I can think of no better way to expose one- self to a new place and its people than by going to a market. Markets bring neighbors together. They introduce us to the people who grow our food, the people who feed us. They are a source of new ideas, inspiration, and recipes. They are the way we participate in the most basic and fundamental ritual shared by all humans—shopping for the ingredients that we will take home, make into a meal, and share with the people we love.” – Emily Dilling, My Paris Cookbook, pg. xiv
What’s I really appreciate about Emily’s book is that even if you never go to Paris, the book is also a challenge to explore what’s around you. Her Chocolate Stout Cake is made with an artisanal French beer, but it’s the perfect chance for you to seek out a locally produced stout by a craft brewer near you. Can’t come to Paris to explore the natural wine scene? What are wine makers doing in your region? My Paris Market Cookbook is as much a love letter to Paris’ markets and producers as it is a challenge to think differently about what you eat. Paris doesn’t have a stronghold on food; good food can be made anywhere, and it’s up to you to do it.
I went to Emily’s release party the other night, held at the super funky La Chambre Noire, right next door to everyone’s favorite Mexican joint Café Chilango (sometimes a girl living in Paris just wants to drink a Michelada). The ladies behind Parisites had help to organize, and they were prepping food from the book and serving glasses of wine from Noëlla Morantin and Laurent Saillard, two winemakers who Emily has helped do wine harvest for. We’re talking real “drink local.” A good looking Frenchman in a blue and white striped shirt was behind the bar working hard. It was the kind of book launch party you always wish you had gotten invited to. Where you say things like “your book is fabulous darling.” Except really what you say is “damn, you did it, thank god that shit is done, what’s next?”
And damn, I am proud of Ms. Dilling. So, what are you waiting for, go get your hands on My Paris Market Cookbook immediately.
Now, for some more party pics. Because that’s what you do when have a food blog and you go to a book release party, right?
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