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Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  455 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A memoir of love, life, and recipes from the woman who brought kale to the City of Light.

The story of how one expat woman left her beloved behind when she moved to France-her beloved kale, that is. Unable to find le chou kale anywhere upon moving to the City of Light with her new husband, and despite not really speaking French, Kristen Beddard launched a crusade to single-
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Sourcebooks (first published May 1st 2016)
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Jesse I think the author's approach is more about discovering a need in the world and finding a solution. Yes, there are tons of problems big and small on t…moreI think the author's approach is more about discovering a need in the world and finding a solution. Yes, there are tons of problems big and small on this planet Earth, but I admire the author's courage and feat in taking on a small project like bringing kale to France. You'll read in Bonjour Kale that the author's actions ultimately sparked a movement.(less)

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Kristyn - Reading to Unwind
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book follows the author Kristen as her and her husband travel from NY to France. Kristen had a very organic and vegetable centered eating pattern and when she moved to France she found out that kale was not readily available. Kale had recently taken off in America and was found on every street corner.

I enjoyed learning the history of why kale was not readily available in France as well as more about the markets and how they are setup in France. I like that vegetables are sold fresh from fa
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, memoir
I finally finished my foodie Paris books, The Little Paris Kitchen and Bonjour Kale.
I've had The Little Paris Kitchen for a while, but I've been saving it to read carefully during Paris in July. I'd hoped to try some of the recipes for Weekend Cooking, but it just didn't happen...maybe next year. Nevertheless, it was fun to browse through stories and recipes as Rachel Khoo proves to us that it doesn't take a fancy kitchen to cook up a little la joie de vivre. I was a little reluctant to try Bon
This book has a rather unusual topic - what does a person do when they uproot themselves, plant themselves in a beautiful European city in which you don't speak the language, and GASP - you cannot find your beloved kale anywhere?

In Paris with her brand new husband, Kristen decides to bring Kale to the City of Light come hell or high water - and sometimes a little of both.

The book has some humerous tidbits in it as she sets about enlightening the French to the beauty of kale, and, in the end, so
Ann Mah
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bonjour Kale made me nostalgic for life in Paris, and all its elegance and eccentricity. With warmth and wit, Kristen Beddard has written a charming story of perseverance and fresh produce!
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kristen Beddard's memoir and for several reasons too. I'm choosy about the memoirs I read, and was immediately attracted to this one. It's about a young woman and her adventures with food, love and Paris. It's about the expat life, and how she had to adapt to being a newlywed in a foreign country. It reminded me of my parents's immigrant situation when they were young and moved to Canada from Italy. It's also about Kristen's love of the leafy green vegetable kale and ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bonjour Kale is a heartfelt story of starting over in a overly romanticized place, Paris, France. "It's the most beautiful city in the world! What's not to love?" is the instant response. But Beddard delves into a difficult transition from New York career girl about town to the culture shock of moving to a new country without a job or language skills. Kristen recognized something that Paris didn't have (cue in kale) and started a straight-up revolution to bring change to an often static, museum ...more
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story made me nostalgic for life in France and learning the ropes as an American living there. While Kale doesn't interest me specifically, I appreciated Kristen's passion for it and desire to bring it to the City of Light.

I also enjoyed the inclusion of recipes in each chapter and the fluid and easy flow to the book. It gives it a Julia Child feel and has inspired me to attempt some of her creations. Kale chips sound particularly intriguing!

I'm hoping that the myriad errors in French and E
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Here's another Paris memoir. Goodness! Is there an infinite market for American in Paris fairy tales? I will give author Kristen Beddard points for not being in love with the idea of Paris before she gets there & for doing a realistic job of describing the alienation a person feels not being able to speak the language beyond the level of a two-year old.

However, her breathless descriptions on the joys of kale and her messianic quest to reintroduce the green to France was not appealing - maybe bec
Fascinating and very honest memoir of a New York expat in Paris, about her courageous mission and dedication to kale, despite obstacles found in a new culture and a difficult language.
One of the most fascinating memoirs I have read for a while! Plus, it’s about France, Paris, and kale. All good reasons to love Bonjour Kale.

my full happy review is here:

Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What I loved most about this book was that it was about so much more than both Paris and kale! Kristen is a wonderful storyteller and expresses the ups and downs of expat life with grace. On top of that, she found a way to make an impact in the Parisian food scene. A wonderful read with excellent, simple recipes throughout.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Here is a book recommendation for you all, especially my Parisphile friends!
Kristen Beddard Heimann,"Bonjour Kale"which was about her project to bring kale to Paris during 2011-13. Her new husband was relocated to Paris and during their time there she decided to create a project. It was very interesting to follow her journey which led her to farmers and chefs and ultimately the press (including the NYTimes). She published it in early 2016 and I met her briefly at Verjus in Paris in May for a boo
**2.5 stars
I liked it, and then I set it down and had a hard time remembering to pick it back up. It's an interesting story though. And added to my seasonal wanderlust ... Who wants to go to Paris with me?
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
solid 4 stars

Sometimes I walk through the library, waiting for a book to present itself to me. This how I discoveredbonjour kale, and I am so happy that it revealed itself to me.

As Kristen Beddard is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad, I felt a bit of kinship. Beyond that, this is a wonderful memoir. At the risk of being predictable, the book is charming.
Sami Frankel
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a gem! As a self-proclaimed kale lover and bonafide Francophile, I was so excited to happen upon this book that seemed to marry these distinct interests of mine. What I didn’t expect was for the book to be so intensely relatable on a more personal level. As I prepare to get married and move to another country (where I only vaguely speak the language) this year, I connected so closely to Kristen’s explanation of floundering and learning in a brand new culture and community. It gives ...more
Jun 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the parts about moving/living in Paris, didn't care about the kale. Not a huge kale fan (salads and/or the occasional smoothie) but I was intrigued by this woman's story of bringing kale to Paris after moving there with her husband. How could such a rich country like France not have kale of all things? So she sets about bringing it back for the French (and her) to enjoy.
I had not been familiar with The Kale Project or what it entails, so I had no clue as to what this woman's story. She
Jessica Marquis
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: france, food
Living in France, it was fun for me to find out that the kale I enjoyed for dinner tonight (sautéed with onions and lardons), and last night (added to a white-bean soup), and, quite honestly, pretty much every night I cook for myself, is largely thanks to fellow American Kristen Beddard, a New Yorker who found herself a bit lost in Paris, lacking a job and lamenting the absence of her favorite vegetable. Five years ago, kale was the superfood and comfort food du jour for foodies around the US, b ...more
Fluff Smut & Murder
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Thank you to for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

I know what you’re thinking - a book about kale? Really? Yes! It’s a crazy memoir about one woman’s journey to bring kale back to France but the writing is so well done with its sprinkling of stories that it was a cute read. Yes, my eyes did glaze over in a few parts about the history of the vegetable, “Bonjour Kale” is worth it.

What I loved: I love cooking memoirs so of course I liked the book
Apr 08, 2018 rated it liked it
The idea of loving kale so much that you start a campaign to bring it to your new country of residence...that's a little foreign to me. Nothing against kale, but even when I put this in the context of a vegetable I feel much more strongly about...would I work to introduce Brussels sprouts to a place? Peppers? ...probably not. But Beddard does an entertaining job of recounting her adventures, both as an expat and as someone devoted to finding local sources of kale. On language: One time I thought ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, mcfl
While no one could accuse me of being a passionate kale lover, I am drawn to Parisian memoirs. And this one stands apart from the rest simply because it is about kale. But don’t worry, even though the theme is about one American woman’s search for kale in Paris, it isn’t just about the leafy vegetable. Kale is a metaphor for Beddard’s adjustment to French life and culture. The picture she paints of her early months is bleak and discouraging, a small part of which is the fact that she has trouble ...more
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I love books set in Paris especially those stories about ex-pats and their transition into Parisian life. We had many of the same experiences as Kristen and Philip..trouble with carte de sejour...apartment hunting...language barriers. I loved her descriptions of the open markets..of Parc Monceau..the layout of her apartment. The book brought back so many memories and I loved that. However, I do not have the same love of kale. Any vegetable that has to be manipulated, dissected and massaged in or ...more
Susanna Natti
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an account of one American woman's quest to re-introduce kale to the French. Years after it became trendy in the United States to eat kale, it was still resisted in France, a "forgotten" food. Kristen Beddard persisted, out of love for the vegetable and out of desperation that her formerly strong self was foundering as a stay-at-home wife living in Paris with her new English husband. She found purpose in being determined to make kale available and despite obstacles, including her difficu ...more
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Where I live, I imagine that finding cuisine or specific type of food is as easy as one-two-three. I even take it for granted that if I desire to find a specific type meat or tea, I can easily drive to an ethnic market and buy it there, thus its difficult for me to imagine that prior to 2017, France didn't have any kale. Unlike the author, I only knew kale because it became popular recently and even then I just knew the name; I didn't know it was a cabbage (there are things I don't know) and I a ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fair warning: this was written by my yoga teacher's daughter so I might be a little biased! This was such a delightful, well-written book. A woman from Pittsburgh found herself living in Paris and noticed that the French don't grow or eat kale. She decided to start The Kale Project as a way to bring kale to France. While it's an interesting, quirky idea, the book is about so much more than kale (although there are awesome recipes at the end of each chapter). The author is very open about her mar ...more
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Honestly, this is one of the most annoying pieces of food writing I've read. The story is great, and it was the only thing that pushed me to finish the book; I had had enough by page 50 or so. Beddard's depiction of her struggles with dealing with difficult people and situations made me balk-- not everything comes with a simple solution on a silver platter with flowers and ponies. She did no favors for herself with whining about her language woes, either; maybe she was a bit self-deprecating for ...more
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is basically an enjoyable feel-good book about bringing kale to Paris and France. It's also the story of an American expat living the dream (is it?) of living in Paris. The author is the typical American abroad... realizing nearly too late that she better learn French and being overly critical of everything French. I'm not sure if she enjoyed her five years there, I can't remember her saying anything positive besides loving Croque Monsieur. But that's not surprising and it still made the bo ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fun story of an American moving with her husband to Paris and the surprises and challenges that arise. I love that the author isn't a Francophile to begin with - so her impressions and descriptions are realistic and not overly romanticized. I can't imagine having enough of a commitment to Kale to even notice that Paris didn't have it, let alone set out to change the situation, but I admire the fact that she simply decided to act on something that was meaningful for her. Almost every ch ...more
Apr 18, 2016 rated it liked it
First of all, I read this for the whole "American living in Paris" aspect, not the spin on kale, because the truth is that I have yet to find a way to prepare kale that renders it edible (to me or to my family), so I knew I wasn't going to try the recipes in the book. And of course my dislike of kale made it hard to understand why the author was so obsessed with it, but I can put myself in her shoes. While I did enjoy the book, it confirmed that I have very little desire to return to Paris (was ...more
Eileen Hall
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A lovely memoir of life in Paris by Kristen Beddard.
Whilst growing up in America, Kirsten "grew up" with kale.
Moving to Paris with her husband she realised that kale was not to be found anywhere, or being mistaken for cabbage, which it isn't.
Kristen set about the onerous task of introducing the leafy vegetable to France.
This book reads as a memoir, French travel and recipes book rolled into one and should be on everyone's cookery book shelf.
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publishe
Elizabeth Mcnair
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was unsure about this book when I started it, but add two things I really like-and you have a winner. Being married to a French man who grew up in Paris, I love learning about the different cultural aspects of a woman who moves to France from the US and her daily revelations and encounters (this is explains why my husband is uncomfortable wearing "sport" clothes out in public) and couple that with the pursuit of a healthy, not so local vegetable. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of how one woman ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found the book a bit slow at the beginning, but eventually there was a rhythm. Not a surprise to me, though, on the success. A bit predictable, of course, but I also heard about this book on the podcast Paris Paysanne (which is also quite good!) I had the fortune of spending 5 weeks in Paris this past summer and visited a lot of markets, but never once noticed kale. Of course, it's not my favorite vegetable, but the story is not in the vegetable. The story is the quest, the transformation, and ...more
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