Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France
Rating: Just Okay
Description: Craig Carlson was the last person anyone would expect to open an American diner in Paris. He came from humble beginnings in a working-class town in Connecticut, had never worked in a restaurant, and didn't know anything about starting a brand new business. But from his first visit to Paris, Craig knew he had found the city of his dreams, although one thing was still missing - the gold ol' American breakfast he loved so much. Pancakes in Paris is the story of Craig tackling the impossible - from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for "exotic" American ingredients...and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast in America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious and satisfying as the classic breakfast that tops its menu. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: Food, Paris, realizing a dream - how could I resist that?
My Impression: I have a list of things that I'm quite certain I never want to do - jump out of a perfectly good airplane, hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail, fight a tiger in hand to hand combat and now after reading this book I can safely add open a restaurant in France to that list! At the very best of times opening a restaurant sounds impossibly hard and such a high risk gamble it makes my stomach hurt but in France it sounds even harder.
But before we go with Craig to Paris and serve up some pancakes and American coffee we go on a whole other - and not so much food related - journey. We go through a, at best chaotic, childhood where other than with his grandmothers food is all about quantity with little interest in the quality. Even when he first winds up in France food is merely a way not to be hungry and it is quite some time before someone takes the time to show him how to really eat.
In reality the food takes awhile to really show up. He spends most of his time trying to break into Hollywood as a screenwriter and figuring out how to keep his head above water. That is of course until his flash of inspiration of what he really wants to do. The only real book I've ever read about opening a restaurant was by celebrity chef Cat Cora and while that was quite a journey she had Food Network and years of culinary experience, connections, and education behind her. Craig's pretty much just winging it. He is everyman realizing his dream of opening a restaurant with the added craziness of opening it in another country.
At times it was fascinating and it was always readable and incredibly informative. And while there was more about electricians, France's labor laws, and political implications it did leaving me craving pancakes and an order of homefries! I feel like brunch is in my future very shortly!
But, you know how sometimes you just don't click with a voice? That's kind of where I was with this one. It was like when my 6 year old randomly decided he didn't like pizza despite it being his favorite treat for YEARS. There's no reason and I couldn't explain what didn't work for me if you made me. It was just an incompatibility of author and reader.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Probably not. Since I didn't really click with the author's voice I doubt I'll be picking up more books.
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would. While it didn't work for me I did find the pacing good and the story itself interesting. If you've ever wondered what it takes to open a business in France this would give you a good idea!
I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads