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Mastering the Art of French Eating

Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris
Written by: Ann Mah
Narrated by: Mozhan Marno
Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The memoir of a young diplomat's wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris - one dish at a time.

When journalist Ann Mah's diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post - alone. Suddenly, Ann's vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down.

So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life's truths.

Like Sarah Turnbull's Almost French and Julie Powell's New York Times best seller Julie and Julia, Mastering the Art of French Eating is interwoven with the lively characters Ann meets and the traditional recipes she samples. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story about love - of food, family, and France.

©2013 Ann Mah (P)2013 Random House Audio

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Robert R.
  • San Francisco, CA
  • 2013-11-20

Enough with the Whining

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't imagine anyone enjoying this other than the author herself. Enough with the whining, moping, and so on. This incessant complaining, moping, whining about her loneliness after separation from her husband because of job reasons can be of interest to no one. Do we want to read how she's so bored she spends her mornings wasting her time on Facebook or Skyping with her husband? If she'd stuck to the other parts of the story about foods and travels and so on this would have been an okay read (it's kind of dull and humorless even then), but as it reads now it's just like reading her diary entries and little else.

What could Ann Mah have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Written with more life and humor and cut out all the ENDLESS, repetitive personal stuff about her marriage and loneliness and boredom. If she's bored, we're even more bored.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mozhan Marno?

The narrator wasn't the problem here, it was the author (and really the author's editor).

What character would you cut from Mastering the Art of French Eating?

Not applicable.

Any additional comments?

I tried. I really did. But this was just terribly, terribly unengaging. Every time I was interested in the subject of a chapter I found myself getting frustrated with the incessant droning on and on (and on and on) about how miserable the author was.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie Cord
  • 2016-09-24


I loved the descriptions of food, of France and of a young marriage. What a gift!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Travelin' Fool
  • 2019-04-23

Needs a PDF

Why isn't there a PDF of the recipes?????

Well-written overall. Interesting read. Made me think differently about a lot of things--like my relationship with food. I'm not as much of a foodie as people think I am. I don't love or think nearly as much as Ann Mah! =) She is INTO it. Illuminating slice of her life. Great memoir.