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Loved it, surprisingly. A very quick read concerning the (Australian) author?s preparations of the Christmas feast for his (French) in-law?s family. The author?s got a huge ego?he name drops all the time, presumes all readers have a mental map of Paris, mentions cooking preparations as if everyone?s a chef, and comments on how certain he is that the food will be perfectly cooked based on one glance or prod or touch. In some places, he disappoints by not letting the reader know how things actually turned out. Or perhaps what really happened doesn?t matter: it?s either the anticipation or the memory of the anticipation that matters to him. And I wasn?t too keen on all the mentionings of casual sex and recreational drug use (as if such would apply to all the readers, you know, wink, wink). But it was still a fun read.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-08-25 In this witty essay collection, Baxter (We'll Always Have Paris) chronicles his years of learning to prepare elaborate Christmas dinners for his French in-laws. After leaving his Los Angeles home to follow a woman (who would later become his wife) to Paris, Baxter was charged with the serious task of cooking the holiday meal for his relatives. Calling to mind other expatriate writers such as Diane Johnson and David Sedaris, Baxter gives readers insights into both French culture and his own expanding culinary range. In "Ninety Degrees of Christmas," he muses on Christmases in his native Australia versus France, and details his mother's preparation of her holiday pudding. Never condescending or obsequious toward his adopted home, Baxter shares insights with the wry perspective of an outsider permitted into a secret world and eager to share the rules with other visitors. Achieving a particularly sensitive balance of allowing readers glimpses into the intimacies of family life while retaining a degree of journalistic distance, Baxter is autobiographical but never intrusive. (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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