F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taste of France (Book Review)

by Sam Bilton on October 19, 2016 No comments


The 1920s conjures up images of glamorous flapper girls, sophisticated cocktails and a general feeling of devil may care joie de vivre. It is not a period of history that I am overly familiar with (although I do enjoy reading the works of F Scott Fitzgerald and Agatha Christie) so I was really looking forward to delving into this book.

What is the essence of the book?

A Taste of France explores the food eaten by the ex pat American artists and writers living in Paris during the 1920s, such as Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Many of these people had sought refuge in France away from the austerity of prohibition in the US. It is a eclectic collection of 60 French bistro style recipes with a distinctive American accent. So you’ll find classics like Pot au Feu sitting alongside Creamed Corn Risotto With Poached Eggs interspersed with features on living in Paris during this period. It includes chapters on breakfast, luncheon, hors d’oeuvres, soups and salads, dinner, desserts and baking and drinks (most of which are cocktails).

About the author

When you look at Carol Hilkers previous publications such as Dirty Food, Chicken Wings and Mmm, Marshmallows may be a bit of a surprise to see that she has authored a book so anchored in history. However, it turns out that she has a bit of a soft spot for Fitzgerald. A former pastry chef she now writes about food full time. Her website, CarolHilker.com, is definitely worth a look if you want to find out more about her work.

Who will like it?

I think this book will appeal to anyone who likes literature but especially people who enjoy reading Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway perhaps even Gertrude Stein. It would be a great source of recipes for a Fitzgerald themed supper (perhaps something book clubs could consider?).

Who won’t like it?

If you’re looking for something that pushes the culinary boundaries then this book is likely to disappoint. For the most part the recipes are straightforward and unfussy. This isn’t fancy cuisine but a more relaxed bistro style of cooking.

What do I like about the book?

Whilst this book may not contain groundbreaking recipes I rather like the random mix of dishes and the fact they cover all eating events during the day. I really enjoyed the features, such as Fitzgeralds Riviera, in each chapter and the intros to the recipes. The food photography is impressive too.

Is there anything I’m not so keen on?

Personally , I would have liked the text about the lives of these authors and the period in question to have been longer, particularly as Hilker writes really well.

Would I cook from it?

Yes! I’ve already got my eye on Gertrude Stein’s Roast Beef Picnic Sandwich.

Where can you buy it?

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taste of France by Carol Hilker (Cico Books, 16.99)

Sam BiltonF. Scott Fitzgerald’s Taste of France (Book Review)

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