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A witty cultural and culinary education, Immoveable Feast is the charming, funny, and improbable tale of how a man who was raised on white bread—and didn't speak a word of French—unexpectedly ended up with the sacred duty of preparing the annual Christmas dinner for a venerable Parisian family.

Ernest Hemingway called Paris "a moveable feast"—a city ready to embrace you at any time in life. For Los Angeles–based film critic John Baxter, that moment came when he fell in love with a French woman and impulsively moved to Paris to marry her. As a test of his love, his skeptical in-laws charged him with cooking the next Christmas banquet—for eighteen people in their ancestral country home. Baxter's memoir of his yearlong quest takes readers along his misadventures and delicious triumphs as he visits the farthest corners of France in search of the country's best recipes and ingredients. Irresistible and fascinating, Immoveable Feast is a warmhearted tale of good food, romance, family, and the Christmas spirit, Parisian style.

Topics: Family

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 6, 2009
ISBN: 9780061982309
List price: $4.99
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Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas manages to reinforce the mystique of French cooking while making me believe that I, too, if blessed with the perfect ingredients, could cook a perfect French Christmas dinner. John Baxter endears himself to his wife's ancient French family through the wonderful stories he tells and somehow ends up responsible for procuring the ingredients and cooking the family's holiday meal. His joy in tracking down the perfect wine, cheese, oysters and pig make for a memorable feast. A seasonal read suitable for a long winter's evening or a series of tasty bites. read more
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A nice read...made me hungry. Reminded me a lot of the Peter Mayle 'Provence' books. And now I know to never go to Paris for Christmas : )read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although author John Baxter was born in Australia, it's France that he calls home. He moved to France in the late 1980s to live with the woman who is now his wife. Cooking is his avocation, and somehow he ended up as the official cook for his wife's family's Christmas dinners. This short memoir intersperses his plans for the current year's Christmas menu with reminiscences about earlier events in his life, including his first Christmas dinner with his wife's family. He's a good storyteller and finds humor in many of his experiences. The main downside of the book for me is that he sometimes shares more than I care to know about the very personal details of his life. Recommended with reservations for readers who enjoy literary travel or food.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas manages to reinforce the mystique of French cooking while making me believe that I, too, if blessed with the perfect ingredients, could cook a perfect French Christmas dinner. John Baxter endears himself to his wife's ancient French family through the wonderful stories he tells and somehow ends up responsible for procuring the ingredients and cooking the family's holiday meal. His joy in tracking down the perfect wine, cheese, oysters and pig make for a memorable feast. A seasonal read suitable for a long winter's evening or a series of tasty bites. 
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A nice read...made me hungry. Reminded me a lot of the Peter Mayle 'Provence' books. And now I know to never go to Paris for Christmas : )
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Although author John Baxter was born in Australia, it's France that he calls home. He moved to France in the late 1980s to live with the woman who is now his wife. Cooking is his avocation, and somehow he ended up as the official cook for his wife's family's Christmas dinners. This short memoir intersperses his plans for the current year's Christmas menu with reminiscences about earlier events in his life, including his first Christmas dinner with his wife's family. He's a good storyteller and finds humor in many of his experiences. The main downside of the book for me is that he sometimes shares more than I care to know about the very personal details of his life. Recommended with reservations for readers who enjoy literary travel or food.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Paris. Sigh. I’m a sucker for anything-Paris. I’m so blinded by the beauty of Paris that I can’t properly evaluate any set-in-Paris book. And this story is doubly-blessed: (1) set-in-Paris and (2) about food.So, frankly, you will have to read this for yourself and see what you think. I loved it, but I’m afraid that really doesn’t tell you very much.
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John Baxter has written a gem of a book about his love for French culture and French food in his A Paris Christmas-Immoveable Feast . But don't believe the Amazon hype on this book. Rather than being some "multi-year journey" to find the "best possible Christmas dinner" for his "French wife's family", Baxter's engaging book focuses on how he ( a transplanted Australian with minimal cooking experience) managed to finally "fit" into French family traditions (mostly unstated and learned via painful mistakes!) over 15 years, including taking over cooking Christmas dinner for an extended (20 people or more) French family. And it is not a Paris Christmas, rather one in Richebourg--quite a distance from Paris, but reflective of how French families actually do celebrate Christmas. You can read it in a few hours. It is a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially if you are a fan of the French and their cuisine.
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John Baxter was entertaining with a conversational writing style, but you still manage to feel smarter after you finish reading it. If you are a connoisseur of food and wine, then this book is an excellent choice. He dissects the idea of a French family and weaves their similiarities with all families anywhere in the world into a delicious meal of literary genius.
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