I'm so excited to announce that today is the official release date of My Paris Market Cookbook: A Culinary Tour of French Flavors and Seasonal Recipes ! After years of writing about the local food movement in Paris for this blog, I am so happy to have had the opportunity to put this research and experience into book form!
Over the past year or so, I have been writing, editing, and developing and testing recipes for My Paris Market Cookbook, which I am so eager to share with you.
Sharing has been key to the creation of this book. I am so grateful for the people who shared their time with me to talk about this book (special thanks goes to my unofficial food writer support group made up of Jessie Kanelos Weiner, Kristen Beddard, and Anna Brones) as well as those who shared recipes with me, straight from the kitchens of Holybelly, Café Lomi, and La Cucina di Terresa to name a few.
Most of all I am grateful to the local small business owners, farmers, bartenders, baristas, and artisans who share their passion with us and in doing so make our lives more delicious and fulfilling. It wouldn't be possible to write a book about craft beer, natural wine, farm-to-table cuisine, and locally roasted coffee if the amazing members of our community behind these movements weren't brave enough to launch their projects and introduce quality food and drinks to Parisians.
In comparison to reaching out to members of the food community while researching My Paris Market Cookbook, the actual writing of a book can be a solitary task, rewarding but also isolating at times.
When I had finally written my last sentence, I was excited to move on to the more collaborative aspects of making a book. This is where the fabulous Nicholas Ball came in. This super talented Welshman is the first person who came to mind when it came to deciding who would take the photos for the book, and I'm so happy that he agreed to be the official My Paris Market Cookbook photographer!
When writing a book with a small budget, there is little money available for styling, photo shoots, ingredients, etc. Despite all that, Nick agreed to make the trip from Cardiff to Paris, do the work of at least three people, and take thousands of photos in the process. Neither one of us had any idea how much work we were getting ourselves into, but I don't think either one of us regret it.
From tweezing shrimp in a Bouillabaisse so you can get a good look at them, to chasing limited natural light during a series of gray days in August, to toiling over how to make a Queen of Sheba Cake sexy (even the Beyoncé approach didn't work), we learned more and more about food photography and styling as we went.
Reusing and improvising with surfaces and backgrounds and getting creative with garnishes and cloth, we managed to achieve a low-cost photo shoot that put the emphasis on the food and not on some sort of unattainable Parisian lifestyle.
Of course it was important to us that the food look great and inspiring, but I also really wanted it to look simple and accessible, because that's what the recipes are.
My Paris Market Cookbook is a guide and cookbook for people who want to enjoy what I love about living in Paris- the experience of going to an outdoor market, chatting with your cheesemonger, making a meal for a family of friends, and using fresh, seasonal ingredients.
You don't have to live in Paris to do this, you don't have to have a wooden table or antique tableware, either. You don't need a huge kitchen, a degree from the Cordon Bleu, or an extra 8 hours in the day, either. You just need some curiosity and maybe a little courage.
Through the words and images in My Paris Market Cookbook, we've tried to bring readers some of the best things that this beautiful city- and its amazing food community- have to offer.
I hope you'll use My Paris Market Cookbook to make a family meal. Or your first homemade vinaigrette. Or an adventurous dessert like a Galette des Rois or Madeleines. Or even a simple Rhubarb Syrup that will remind you of sunny days well into winter. If you do, send me a photo?