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Life is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days    by James Salter & Kay Salter Amazon.com order for
Life is Meals
by James Salter
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Lisa Respers France

Food, glorious food. Reading about it can sometimes be as tantalizing as eating it. Such is the case with Life Is Meals which is chock full of tasty tidbits, culinary history, personal epicurean episodes and of course recipes.

Written by bon vivants James and Kay Salter and gorgeously illustrated by Fabrice Moireau, the book has a feel which harkens back to another time when life was slower paced and a good meal, good company and a good book were meant to be savored. Structured as a series of daily entries, the brief snippets are just long enough to intrigue but not so long that delving into them becomes tedious. The Salters definitely know their food and drink. So whether it's the personal touch of reminiscing about a dinner they hosted, or showing off their research skills by recounting the menu on the ill fated Titanic, or tales such as the one about Fritz Karl Vatel, a Swiss immigrant who worked as a steward for Louis XIV's finance minister (you'll have to read the book to discover more), the authors commit totally to informing and entertaining the reader.

The writing is exquisite, which will not surprise anyone who has read James Salter's previous work, including Dusk and Other Stories which was selected for the 1989 PEN/Faulkner Award. His wife Kay is a talented journalist whose work has been featured in publications such as Food & Wine. The pair obviously work well together, as each entry flows seamlessly and evokes plenty of salivating.

The temptation will be to race through the days and gobble up this delicious book. But try to view the entries as courses and spread them out. It will be all the better for the waiting.

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