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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Meal, 27 July 2013
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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The author writes in an entertaining and enthusiastic style which really carries the reader along. He sets out to create the perfect meal from traditional French cooking. He travels throughout France to try and find the forgotten byways of French cooking. He tracks down such delicacies as lampreys, and mussels cooked by igniting pine needles and after much research he gets to hear of a village roasting a whole ox.

We hear about Proust, madeleines and lime flower tea as well as reading about the author's visit with his daughter to Illiers - Combray to Proust. We explore the further reaches of caviar and the different types of it as well as read about where anchovies are caught and packed. I think for me the piece de resistance was the chapter about onion soup and how it should be made. I'm not sure I would ever have the motivation to make it like that but just to read about it made this reader salivate.

Illustrated with black and white illustrations within the text and including the final menu for the feast together with some recipes this is a fascinating book and I read it in a couple of days. I shall definitely be trying out the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon as it sounds absolutely delicious. If you like reading about food, history, geography and people then read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bon Appetit!, 27 Aug. 2013
By 
Angela - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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The Perfect Meal is such a subjective thing, and this makes for the interest of this book as John Baxter, an Australian wed to a French lady who has lived in France for many years goes on the search for the perfect antidote to the nouvelle cuisine small plates and ready meals that he sees transforming French cuisine - do the French, he ponders, still roast ox?

As someone who has lived in France themselves I thoroughly enjoyed John's look at French food. I wouldn't necessarily agree with the menu he comes up with at the end (which is included in full at the end of the book along with the recipes to make it), and my memories of what make for an amazing French eating experience are very different to his, but his experiences were an interesting read. He has a good knowledge of all things French, and other aspects of French life are covered in this nostalgic and affectionate look at the French relationship with food, as John travels around France in search of bouillabaisse and truffles. An enjoyable and fascinating read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An old-school treat., 15 Sept. 2013
By 
A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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In which the erudite and charming Mr Baxter voyages around France planning a grand repas comprised of the sort of classic French dishes which have disappeared from the menu, from Eel Stew to Roast Ox and all points between. It's a book rich in historical and culinary knowledge, and would be thoroughly enjoyed by Francophiles and Foodies alike. Mr Baxter is obviously a gentleman of the old school, and adding to the pleasurably nostalgic vibe are the sort of cartoons last seen in those red Penguin humour paperbacks of the George Mikes era, and pen portraits of the authors eccentric expat chums, all of whom seem to have been transported intact from the literary Bohemia of 1950s Paris. A real treat.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Foodies, francophiles, get your plates out for this road!!!, 21 Aug. 2013
By 
rhosymynydd "liz" (west wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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The perfect meal is in fact a lot of them...this voyage of discovery written by John Baxter was ordere by me as we intend to take the channel plunge and move from this Sceptred Isle of fish and chips and curry and expensive red wine hopefully to luxuriate in longer periods of sunshine, grow and eat our own food and explore the many culinary establishments on the way. John's French experiences and his anecdotes along with his expertise in identifying local food makes for a wonderful book extolling the wonders to behold and eaten (and of course drunk) in the many provinces that he has included in his quests to track down the lost tastes of France. he does tell us that these hostelries are not as common or as inexpensive as they have been in the low to high £ days, nevertheless he finds the goods all over France for us to vicariously enjoy You will be entranced by the endangered species of foods fast vanishing from our plates and glasses (Just how many bottles of 100 year old Armangnac are left?). Baxter digs deep and hard to find where luxuries have been secreted for true afficionados and even his wife is forced to use her wiles to uncover an old distilleries where only the true elite sample golden (in price and taste) liquor. This book tickles the taste buds, encourages us to taste hitherto unknown fish and flesh...It will be our companion on our own travels through France very shortly (If only we can get the pronounciation right, as to explain hunger ("Faim") for the variety of food you are seeking, is also an art which must be learned)Highly recommended, amusingly written and very enjoyable. Thank you Mr Baxter for a sortie into the depths of French cuisine at its finest and most unusual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tres bien, 29 Oct. 2013
By 
the lambanana "the lambanana" (liverpool) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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It's a rather tasty book. Descriptive, to the point that with each turn of the page I felt hungry.

Part travel, part recipe book. This can only really work if the writer is interesting and has something new to say.

In this case, John Baxter has tells of what has underwhelmed, delightful anecdotes and we are left knowing what really makes him tick.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I devoured it, 13 Aug. 2013
By 
Simon Tavener - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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As a Francophile and a foodie, this book really could have been written with me in mind. I must admit that I have not encountered John Baxter before - but I am sure I would get on well with him should our paths ever cross as he is a man with a passion for his subjects and it is this love that shines through every sentence in the book.

It is part travelogue, part history book, part gastronomic tour and part a collection of anecdotes - and this mix is very easy to engage with and you find yourself wanting to read just one more chapter.

He has a warmth and a humour that keeps you smiling throughout - and his descriptions of food rivals some of the best food writers I have ever read.

So this is a must-buy for someone like me who loves France and the wonderful food to be found there.

Yum
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!, 17 Nov. 2013
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Australian-born writer John Baxter has lived in Paris for the past 20 years with his French wife. Lucky man. As an author who started out writing science fiction in the sixties, he has a lifetime's involvement in all kinds of literary and film-making endeavours. An ideal and well-travelled man to write this type of book then.

And boy is it detailed and interesting! Mr Baxter goes in search of all those well-known traditional dishes that are embedded in the French psyche. And in this volume he finds and samples them all and the flavours and tastes he describes ooze from the page so that the reader finds him/herself licking their lips as they read along.

Baxter is a fine writer and as near perfect a guide you could expect on a gourmand's tour around the Gallic highways and byways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Meal, 28 July 2013
By 
lapal25 (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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What a lovely little book! Perfect for anyone with a love of food or France. Easy to read, full of interesting anecdotes, quirky, funny and entertaining. A perfect gift for the 'difficult to buy for' person in your life.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Meal, 17 Oct. 2013
By 
Jago Wells (N Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely little book which will certainly appeal to all gastronomes or even those for whom eating and drinking is part and parcel of everyday life. John Baxter is described as 'An expat Paris resident' who became alarmed at how traditional ingredients and culinary techniques were-even in the home of gastronomy-disappearing from common use. What followed was an epicurean travelogue which took the author all over France to rediscover and record the great dishes and eateries before the country follows the rest of Europe into fast food and processed junk hell! Despite the author's alarm and concern at these 21st century trends,he retains a dry wit and enthusiasm which shines through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Gastronome's Delight!, 20 Sept. 2013
By 
Uncle Barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) (Paperback)
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This is my first "taste" of John Baxter and I must say that I will certainly be checking out his other works. If you like France and you love good food (and I am a BIG YES in both departments) then you cannot fail but love this book which has both in all of their quirkiness in abundance.

As the tag line goes it is "in search of the Lost Tastes of France" - those dishes and recipes that are facing extinction by the relentless march of the modern world and ready meals, fast food and global consumerism.

In this book however, Baxter takes us on a journey through the many and varied regions of France on a Gastronome's journey with wit and enthusiasm. And I loved it!
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The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.)
The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France (P.S.) by John Baxter (Paperback - 19 Mar. 2013)
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