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Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  460 ratings  ·  54 reviews
A glorious, edible tour of Paris through six decades of writing from Gourmet magazine, edited and introduced by Ruth Reichl

For sixty years the best food writers have been sending dispatches from Paris to Gourmet. Collected here for the first time, their essays create a unique and timeless portrait of the world capital of love and food. When the book begins, just after the
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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thefourthvine
This book's title should actually be Paris in the 1960s and 1970s, Described by Joseph Wechsberg and Naomi Berry. And therein lies the problem.

I expected, from the subtitle and from the other Gourmet collection I've read, to find here a variety of writers covering the full time span. And, technically, this book has both - seventeen authors (although that's a ludicrously small number for a 350 page anthology of short magazine pieces), and, well, if not quite sixty years, close. But the book is 8
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Linda
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I Love Ruth Reichl! I love her autobiographies! I loved her term as editor for Gourmet.

If I had a "Bucket List", Paris, its bistro's, cafes and wonderful culture would be at the top of my list.

So, are you wondering why I have two stars posted? Because, if it were not for Ruth Ruth, I would have given it one. This book was, for the most part, a huge disappointment. The earlier writers for Gourmet were listless... more like food reporters. Dull, blah, blah, blah. Maybe, for its time, this was exci
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Wendy Thomas
May 06, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
You pick up this book because you notice Ruth Reichl is the author. And it’s a book about the cuisine of Paris! Sounds too good to be true! Well, it is. The book is a collection of essays NOT written by Reichl at all. The majority of essays are written by Joseph Wechsberg and Naomi Barry who are both total bores. I have been to Paris several times and I know what the city can offer; this book did not do the city nor it’s food justice. Many times I had to reread paragraphs because my eyes glazed ...more
Catherine Woodman
I bought this, and several other books in the Food Modern Library series after reading Ruth Reichl's edited edition, Endless Feasts--and I had high hopes for this volume, but it turns out that indeed, I do not love Paris, it is France that I love. I read it in France, and was very much loving the things about France that I hold dear, so it was not a 'far removed' sort of problem. I do agree with my spouse, that the first 50 pages are very slow and it gets much much better after that, and there w ...more
Bess
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm sure it was good. I mean, how could I not love this? A food memoir about Paris? It's like they know me!

Except... I just didn't love it. In fact, I got through the first 5 or so essays and then decided that someone else would love it a whole lot more.
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Jerry
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of beautifully written love letters to the dining experience in Paris. If you've never been it will give you a taste of the city, and if you have been it will remind of it's greatness. ...more
Connie Ciampanelli
Jun 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Not everyone who read Gourmet magazine floated leisurely in an ocean of money, but you would hardly guess that from reading this collection. Remembrance of Things Paris: Sixty Years of Writing from Gourmet sets up the city as a world of kings and princes and dukes and barons, of renowned conductors and artists and writers. It is a world of haute couture, haute cuisine, haute monde, of fois gras and caviar and truffles and bottomless flutes of Champagne, of Cartier and Dior, of places filled with ...more
C.E. Case
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great exploration of Paris through the decades from an American point of view. Nicely devastating final essay.

Joseph Wechsberg comes across as a dick, though.
Brooke Everett
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, france
This coming September, I'm heading to Paris for the first time ever and I could not be more excited. Belon oysters and Sancerre! Deep history imbued with the magic of so many great artists and icons! And more oysters!

Being the perpetual student that I am, I'm taking my "studying" very seriously prior to this trip. I want to arrive informed about not only where to find the greatest and best foie gras, but also about the city's pantheon of incredible restaurants and chefs.

This book really made it
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Anne Green
How could a Francophile food writer not be intrigued by a collection of sixty years of food writing about Paris? I looked forward to reading this book with keen anticipation and on the whole it didn't disappoint. Compiled by Ruth Reichl, for many years the editor in chief in Gourmet Magazine, it's an anthology of dispatches to Gourmet Magazine from various columnists based in Paris. It covers a period of sixty years, spanning the years immediately post World War 2 to the early 2000s. As Ruth Rei ...more
Lisa
This book is a collection of essays from Gourmet magazine, but is not all about food--architecture, fashion, recent Parisian history, and other subjects are covered as well, although there are lots of yummy food and descriptions and plenty of restaurants reviewed, of course. There are even recipes from great chefs, which one can read guilt-free because usually the ingredients are unobtainable (rendered goose fat? in Provo, Utah?), but they sound delicious (and time-consuming). Most of all this b ...more
Patty
”This is living history, vibrant and unself-conscious, and it offers an amazing opportunity to watch an entire civilization transform itself and move into what will become the present” p. xii

I appreciate what Reichl is saying in her introduction to these magazine articles. Reading across the years may give you a way of seeing what is going on in a place in the present. Unfortunately, these essays did not do that for me. I was entertained by some of these articles, but many of them left me unmove
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Linette
As with any collection of articles in a magazine, this was a mixed bag. I know this was a gourmet magazine collection but I enjoyed the articles that were more focussed on Paris than on food best.
Hester
This book seems like it should be right up my alley. I love food and I love Paris. The essays, though, focus on a rarified slice of Paris that I just cannot relate to. One of the articles extolls the virtues of high French cuisine and says that "low cost bistros" like Les Bookinistes are not much better than the cafes in New York. The author simultaneously slammed New York and said a restaurant with an 80 euro tasting menu is "low cost."

The essays that appealed to me were either on the history
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Colleen
Mostly, this book was very entertaining, albeit pretentious, but it's divided into essays which are super easy to read through on the subway. It's my favorite kind of commuting literature - short & sweet & easy to pick up. "A Memory of Alice B. Toklas" is delightful, funny, warm and fascinating; I'm going on a mad search for more pieces by Naomi Berry because of it.

"Grand Masters," on the other hand, by Jonathan Gold is at times grossly greedy in terms of food descriptors. I felt as though he w
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Katie
I was expecting to love this book, but alas I do not love it like I love Paris.
Granted it was interesting but more often than not i was bored and skimmed through some of the essays.
I gave it three stars because it was fun reading about the restaurants that have been a part of Paris for decades, if not centuries.
I made a list of restaurants that were written about years ago and are still around today.
Hopefully I can try them all at one point in my life.
But basically it was too long for me to enjo
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Julie
Mar 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie-shelf
Here is another we gave to Tim's Mom, this one was for Mother's Day 2011 I believe. She read it quickly and gave it back to us, I forgot to ask her what she thought of it. Tim's Mom is French (born in Jacksonville, Oregon of French immigrant parents). She has been to France three times and keeps up with her relatives there. I don't know when we will get to this book and we will eventually! ...more
Virginia
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't check this out well and thought it was going to be writings of Ruch Reichle. Instead it is writings of several food editors, critics and correspondents about their experiences in Paris related to food. I must say it is strange to feel intimidated by just reading about famous resturants and their snobism. ...more
Wayne Laney
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paris, Gourmet, and Ruth Reichl: what's not to like? This is a wonderfully well-selected collection of pieces from several decades of Gourmet magazine. It is perhaps most enjoyable read slowly, a few articles at a sitting. There are descriptive passages among these articles that are some of the most evocative of places in Paris that I have ever read. ...more
Carol J.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As editor of Gourmet Magazine, Ruth Reichl compiles a selection of wonderful articles on food and eating in Paris for this book. Famous restaurants, bistro culture, great recipes, vignettes about eccentric chefs, French attitudes and culture....entertaining and fun and just plain made me want to go to go back to Paris!
Cheryl
Sep 10, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
not what I expected, and not in a good way. With Reichl's name on the cover, I thought there would be some commentary/eassay by her woven through the book, but there isn't. Will give it another shot, though, to see if I like it better with realistic expectations. ...more
Jennifer
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredibly fabulous book. I loved reading all the many stories of writers various experiences in Paris through the decades.

For someone who loves Paris, this is a must read and will make you want to go back to Paris and seek out some of the spots that are mentioned.
Sarah
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: francophiles, gourmets, and dreamers
Recommended to Sarah by: Jen
A great book to dip into on a Grey and cold winter evening. Dream of meals that you could be making and gorgeous French men who could be escorting you into restaurants to feast on oysters and veau blanquette instead of sitting in your nightie with the cat eating soft boiled eggs.
Noelle
Jun 26, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book seems to be more about Paris the food in Paris. But I have not gotten very far.
Juliana
A collection of articles from Gourmet magazine on French culture,specificly on food. It's a decent read,but read with a full stomach,because the decription of the food will make you hungry. ...more
Moira
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Food. Paris. Nothing else to say.
Laura
Jun 13, 2008 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Joan Reardon
Couldn't finish it... ...more
Kara
Mar 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of beautiful food writing about Paris from the 40's to the present. ...more
Donna
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I don't like food/travel writing as much as I thought. ...more
Stephanie
Good but slow moving - I couldn't encourage myself to pick it up frequently enough to finish it, but it's not a bad read for sure. ...more
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Ruth Reichl is an American food writer, the editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and culinary editor for the Modern Library.
Born to parents Ernst and Miriam (née Brudno), she was raised in New York City and spent time at a boarding school in Montreal. She attended the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, the artist Douglas Hollis. She graduated in 1970 with a M.A. in art history
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