Monday, June 1, 2009

David Lebovitz: My Bono

Any 12-step program will tell an addict to avoid their triggers, much less invite them into your home on a live-in basis. This is why I've never allowed myself to purchase an entire box of cake mix for no specific reason or, say, date a pastry chef. Not that I haven't fantasized about those things. (Those 80s commercials about "living in the land of Dairy Queen"? They still haunt me to this day.) I just know that my personal danger zone of no-holds-barred consumption behavior is paved with butter cream frosting, so I only allow myself to indulge in limited doses, preferably with my husband or friends to serve as backup. This is a Category 5 sweet tooth I have, people.

Despite his considerable chops as a nationally-celebrated pastry chef, I'd never heard of David Lebovitz before two days ago. Alice Waters and Chez Panisse? Yes, of course. But David's fame is from two all-dessert cookbooks he wrote after spending years at Panisse, both of which I've averted my eyes from in bookstores to resist taking home in plain brown paper bags and stashing greedily under my bed. This week, however, I was in le mood for some nonfiction foodie reading and saw that The Sweet Life in Paris by Lebovitz is #6 on Amazon's Kindle nonfiction list. Now I'm in awe of this man doing God's work in France as a transplant, and dispatching books and blogs about it. Aside from Paris's art world, which I explored somewhat in my late college years, he's given me the foodie half that I just knew existed - and it's even better than I hoped.

It's been my dream to take a romp through Paris that I've very creatively entitled the "Let's Eat Our Way through Paris Trip." Despite having a willing spouse and knowing two great couples to go whole hog with me on the idea, it's still just a glimmer in my eye, thanks to the recession, the underperforming dollar, and my own career ambitions of late. So. Lebovitz's book has been an excellent substitute. He's not only a witty observer, he opens up his personal life to make his essays feel like the first-hand accounts of a friend, one with a three-dimensional life that just happens to revolve around 5 kilo slabs of chocolate.

Amazed at his description of G. Detou, the pastry-makers paradise he describes in the book, I pounced on his blog online and MON DIEU! found that he leads culinary tours through the city. The one I'm fantasizing about is this Gastronomic Adventure in October, and I swear, if I went he would certainly not need to give me the shorts and fanny pack lecture.

One day, my friend. One day.

(The above photo of G. Detou is by Jason Whittaker.)

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