A witty cultural and culinary education, Cooking for Claudine is the charming 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 – most particularly his daunting mother-in-law, Claudine.
For John Baxter, acclaimed film critic and food lover, this surprising challenge came about when he was struck down by a coup de foudre; he fell in love with a French woman and impulsively moved to Paris to marry her. As a test of his love, his sceptical 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 on his misadventures and delicious triumphs as he visits the farthest corners of France in search of the country’s best recipes and ingredients. But in and around the planning, brooding, shopping, tweaking, cooking and serving he manages to weave not only personal memories and observations a passion for food on three different continents but also something rarer, a glimpse behind the firmly closed doors of French family life. Cooking for Claudine is a warm-hearted tale of good food and true love – Parisian style. How can you resist?
“Such a likeable, readable book, packed with humour and quirky knowledge ”
“Uproarious...Baxter's wry humour and fast-paced writing make for a highly entertaining read. Cooking for Claudine is a heart-warming tale of love, family and good food.”
“John Baxter is so erudite while being so funny. He’s much more than a tourist – he’s got it all.”
John Baxter is an Australian-born writer, journalist and film-maker. Baxter has lived in Britain and the United States as well as his native Sydney, but has made his home in Paris since 1989, where he is married to the film-maker Marie-Dominique Montel. They have one daughter, Louise.