Monday, October 10, 2016

Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love and Recipes by Kristen Beddard

The author of Bonjour Kale, an American named Kristen Beddard moved to Paris in 2009 with her husband and was astonished to find that kale was totally nonexistent in the City of Light. When she had left New York in 2009, kale was becoming the "it" vegetable and kale salads could be found on most of the trendy restaurants' menus. Beddard, who missed kale very much went on a search for the leafy greens at farmers markets and supermarkets all over Paris. But alas, kale was not to be found. The book centers on the "The Kale Project" that Beddard took on of reintroducing kale to Paris. Beddard set up a blog and began her research. She discovered that after World War II, no one wanted to eat kale anymore and it fell out of favor. She worked with farmers by providing them with kale seeds and encouraging them to grow it. Beddard met with local chefs and brought this mystery vegetable to them to experiment with and eventually buy and serve at their restaurants. Beddard worked tirelessly to introduce the curly vegetable to Parisians by making tons of kale chips and sampling them at farmers' markets and restaurants. So if you visit Paris and see kale at a farmers market or eat kale at a restaurant, remember that you have Kristen Beddard to thank for starting the Kale Revolution there!  

Tasty kale recipes are interspersed throughout the book that you will want to try such as Kale Chips, Kale Salad, and Kale Gratin.

Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love and Recipes is an enjoyable, well-written story about kale and Paris with a little bit of romance thrown in. If you have ever lived internationally, this book will resonate with you. Beddard describes the daily frustrations and feelings of isolation that an expat experiences. She writes of her difficulty in learning French and communicating with the French people, making friends, committing faux pas of French customs, and suffering homesickness. If you like cooking memoirs, books on Paris, or expat life check out Bonjour Kale.

The Virginia Beach Public Library has many other Paris/Cooking Memoirs that are similar to Bonjour Kale such as Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard, Paris in Love: A Memoir by Eloisa James, My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz, and Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas. Bon Appetit!

Reviewed by Joan L.

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