French Fried

Written by: Harriet Welty Rochefort

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In this witty and engaging memoir, Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of French Toast, continues her quest to unravel the enigmatic French, this time through the lens of their beloved cuisine. French Fried is a saucy, sometimes spicy, and often hilarious account of Rochefort’s thirty-year culinary adventure in France.

From dining on onion soup with her concierge to discovering a shower and a cop in her kitchen, Rochefort’s early experiences in France are anything but ordinary. However, after marrying Philippe, a Frenchman, she realizes that cooking will become an integral part of her life, whether she likes it or not. Determined to succeed, Rochefort evolves from a novice who opens cans of peas to a skilled cook who effortlessly whips up two three-course meals a day.

Rochefort shares intimate details of her culinary journey, including her most impressive disasters, like the plastic sandwich fiasco, and her triumphant successes. She takes readers on a tour of French “hypermarkets,” invites them to join her family for a typical six-course Sunday lunch in the countryside, and even brings them along to a pastry class at the renowned Lenôtre cooking school.

With a writing style reminiscent of Erma Bombeck and M.F.K. Fisher, Rochefort tells the entertaining story of how she, an American raised on meat and potatoes, learned to appreciate and embrace the art of French cuisine. As globalization and standardization threaten to undermine traditional Gallic dishes, Rochefort stands ready to defend the culinary heritage she has grown to love.

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