Bon Appétit! New book explores the ‘Art of French Eating’

October 3, 2013 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Journalist Ann Mah, married to a diplomat, had grown accustomed to splitting her time between political hot-spots like Washington, D.C. and Beijing. But when her husband was placed for three years in Paris, she was ecstatic. A lifelong lover of food, and struggling to launch her career as a freelance food writer in D.C., Mah had always dreamed of exploring this romantic city – and its cuisine – with her husband.

“Before we moved to Paris,” she writes, “my husband, Calvin, and I used to pore over the atlas of France. I would stand in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he would lean on the counter, keep my wineglass filled, and turn the book’s wide pages.” But soon after settling in Paris, her husband was summoned on a new year-long assignment in Iraq.

Rather than wallow in loneliness, Mah resolved to make the most of her surroundings. In “Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris” (Pamela Dorman Books/Viking), Mah chronicles her exploits in travel, culture, and, of course, food. She begins to make a life for herself in Paris, setting out not only to taste, but to learn the history of – and how to make – traditional French dishes. And between lessons in buckwheat crepes and cheese fondue, Ann conquers her distaste for eating and traveling alone.

The author will appear in Brooklyn as part of the PAGE TURNER Festival on Oct. 5. The event will begin at 5 p.m. at the YWCA (Roulette Downstairs Gallery, 30 3rd Ave. in Downtown Brooklyn).

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Ann Mah is a journalist and the author of the novel “Kitchen Chinese.” She was awarded a James Beard Foundation culinary scholarship in 2005 and her articles about food, travel, fashion, style, and the arts have appeared in The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Washingtonian magazine, and the South China Morning Post, among other publications. The wife of a U.S. diplomat, Mah currently splits her time between New York City and Paris. For more information, visit

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