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How to Eat a Small Country: A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time    by Amy Finley order for
How to Eat a Small Country
by Amy Finley
Order:  USA  Can
Crown, 2011 (2011)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Amy Finley walked away from her win of season three of The Next Food Network Star. Sending in an audition tape, she had hoped to bring 'American families together with her simple Gourmet Next Door recipes'.

After a season on the show, her French husband Greg decided 'he didn't want to be married to a celebrity' and they separated for a while. Trying to save the marriage and give their two children a loving, two-parent home, they moved to France where she and Greg had met, fell in love, and lived for a time. Traveling all over France from their home base of a small village with wonderful and caring neighbors, they sampled the regional foods while restoring their marriage.

The story of their odyssey fascinates with all the foods they consumed. And as in any other country, the types and cooking of these dishes varied by region. As they wended their way through small villages and slightly larger towns, they slowly knit their lives back together. And the accounting of the foods they tasted would make any gourmand salivate. I sure did.

Their episode of trying bouillabaisse – calling it a binge – is worth the read. The lapin a la moutarde kind of curls your toes. But eat it, they did. Marvelous foods - that would encourage any home cook to whip out the sauté pan - fill page after page. I had a bit of trouble with the pigs' innards, but on the whole would love to recreate their journey of a lifetime.

And the wines! Wow! Who wouldn't love to savor French wines in the country of their origin? How to Eat a Small Country is a thoroughly delightful and also informative book by someone who knows of what she speaks.

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