An Evening at the American Library in Paris - Ann Mah | Ann Mah

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An Evening at the American Library in Paris

By Ann | February 10, 2014

ALP event


Patricia ALP 5

I had so much fun last week at my book event at the American Library in Paris with Patricia Wells that I couldn’t resist sharing a few photos. As you can see, we shared a lot of laughs with a lovely crowd of Francophiles. I saw so many familiar faces in the audience that I immediately felt right at home.

Patricia and I divided the evening in half and interviewed each other. She asked me about my experiences writing fiction versus nonfiction (and a few other excellent questions). I quizzed her all about how she got started as a food writer and loved learning about the inspiration behind her newest book, The French Kitchen Cookbook. At the end of the program, we trotted out a James Lipton-esque series of rapid fire questions-and-answers that I’m delighted to share here*:

Who are your cooking heros?
PW: Julia Child, Joël Robouchon.
AM: Julia Child, Brillat-Savarin, Marcel Pagnol.

Fine dining or home cooking?
PW: There’s a place for both, depending the situation.
AM: Home cooking — especially if someone else is cooking.

Favorite comfort food?
PW: Pizza. We have the homemade version down to an art in our house.
AM: Toast.

Favorite city to eat in outside of France?
PW: San Sebastian.
AM: Barcelona. Or Hong Kong.

Favorite season for produce?
PW: Spring. Asparagus!
AM: Spring. Strawberries!

Favorite music for cooking?
PW: Jazz.
AM: Jazz, especially TSF Jazz.

*Answers are reproduced from my rattled memory.

Heartfelt thanks to all who came (in body or spirit) — I loved meeting you! And my deepest gratitude to those who bought (or brought) books and asked me to sign them.  I’m delighted to report that we sold out, which is pretty much the best thing I’ve typed this year.


Hungry for more? These bloggers have the dish:
–Marjorie Williams (author of Markets of Paris) wrote this charming post.
–Kristin Espinasse from French Word-a-Day spins this funny tale about the evening. (And here’s her account of the following night, a Champagne cocktail literary evening she shared with me at the home of Robin Katsaros.)
–Anne and Kirk of Music and Markets wrote this lovely post.
–Finally, the fifth edition of Patricia’s fantastic Food Lover’s Guide to Paris is coming out on March 11! This is a must-have book for any visitor to Paris.

Topics: Appearances, Mastering the Art of French Eating, Paris | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “An Evening at the American Library in Paris”

  1. Kristen Says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    It was such a highlight to meet you Ann! Thank you for a wonderful evening! My signed book is sitting proudly on my bookshelf (because clearly I already read it!)

  2. Christine Griffith Says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    So glad the evening was such a success and wish I could have been there.I still receive newsletters from the ALP so I am able to keep up to date with everything going on there.It was a life saver for me when we lived in Paris, as my husband travelled so much with his job. I met some amazing people and still miss the place very much. When we next visit Paris, it will be my first port of call!!

  3. Lisa Taylor Huff Says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    So enjoyed the evening and I’m completely enjoying your book! (And my husband and I are NOT sleeping in the center of that one photo, I promise.)

  4. Jeanne Says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Sounds like it was a wonderful evening. I would love to have been there.

  5. Betty Gleason Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 12:51 am

    You know how much I wanted to be there among all my favorite Francophile writers who have treated me so well through the years. I gladly would have swapped the disastrous Fall trip to have met you all at these events.

  6. Emma Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 1:19 am

    Such an amazing turnout, good for you! It looks like a wonderful night, I too wish I could have been there :)

  7. Emily Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 5:01 am

    Congrats on the book sales! Wish I could have been there. We’re heading to Barcelona – can you suggest some of your favorite places there?

  8. Parisbreakfast Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 10:12 am

    What a witty Q &A it was and a very nice change from many of these dos.
    I’ll send along my pic from the night.i plan to make your galettes very soon. i just need a pan and for Richard N to lend me his book!

  9. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 11:45 am

    So darned proud of you, Ann! xo

  10. Lindsey Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Was a fantastic presentation! SO glad I could be there :)

  11. Shannon Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Holy packed-room! This looked like such a fun and delicious event–I am in awe.

  12. Ann Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    Kristen — I loved meeting you and have been using my Kale Project tote bag with pride. Thank you for coming!

    Christine — Returning to the ALP feels like going home, you’ll see! I wish you could have been there, too!

    Lisa — Thank you so much for being there, for reading my book, and for your great question during the Q&A! Loved meeting you.

    Jeanne — Merci! It was lovely because of the people there and would have been even more wonderful with you!

    Betty — Oh, no! Disastrous fall trip?! I think you need to plan another visit to France for a do-over :)

  13. Ann Says:
    February 11th, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Emma, the turnout was truly heartwarming. Looking out in the audience, I misted over several times.

    Emily — Barcelona, lucky you! Here’s a post I did about a trip there:

    ParisBreakfasts — Were you there? I wish I’d had a chance to say hello!

    Mardi — Oh, thanks, friend. I wish you’d been there! xo

    Lindsey — I’m only sorry we couldn’t catch up more! Thanks for coming.

    Shannon — It was very fun — and there was free wine! Always a great draw :)

  14. Jill (MadAboutMacarons) Says:
    February 13th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Ann, the evening looked fabulous, cosy and friendly. Wish I could have been there to enjoy it. Hehe, roll on Spring time, indeed for these strawberries and asparagus! Chapeau to you. xo

  15. French Basketeer Says:
    February 15th, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    The evening looks wonderful and so glad the books sold out! Patricia is one of my favorites and I share her love of San Sebastian!

  16. david terry` Says:
    February 16th, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Well, that does look as though it was a wonderfully fun evening (not that anyone familiar with your and Patricia Well’s writings would have expected less).

    Just for the record?……given my profession/background, I read a LOT of books, scarcely any of which are cookbooks, and I like to think of myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of wit and humor.

    That said?….As I told Mrs. Wells at a book signing a couple of years ago, I still think one of the ten-or-less dry-wittiest/funniest remarks I’ve read in years was her observation (this was made after she had bought the stove from Julia Child’s house in Provence) that buying the stove felt like buying Freud’s couch.

    Now, THAT is funny.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least to hear/see that your evening at the library was so congenial. My continued impression is that you’re both wryly charming (a are quality) ladies who genuinely enjoy other people (an even-rarer quality).


    David Terry

  17. david terry` Says:
    February 17th, 2014 at 11:18 am

    P.S. As a general rule, I’m wary of ever publicly commenting on a woman’s looks (even if it’s meant as a completel compliment), but I’ll risk it here….

    I think Patricia Wells is wonderful-looking (a great deal of her charm, at least in photographs, is conveyed via her gestures and always-lively facial expressions). I expect that photographers enjoy working with her.

    She’s also, and obviously, gracefully managed to do what most of the French women I know have done at one point or another in their lives……get your “look” (hair, clothes, accessories) DOWN….and then Stick To It. I don’t think my mother-in-law (she’s from Tours) has changed her “look” in over forty years, and she always looks un-self-consciously great.

    There’s a wonderfully relaxed and charming photograph of PW, with her arms casually folded, on the back of the hardcover edition of her “The Provence Cookbook”. I wish American guys could get away with wearing sleeve-less, loose-fitting, linen smocks like hers; I’d wear one every day, in this Southern climate, if I were allowed to do so.

    David Terry

  18. CK Says:
    February 23rd, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    What a great event this must have been. Three cheers for toast, strawberries and TSF Jazz (and for AM and PW, of course)!

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