If you can’t book a trip to France, you can bring France to your book club. Impress your friends with these 6 tres bon tools for hosting the perfect Parisian Book Party.
1. My Life in France by Julia Child. The captivating story of Julia Child’s years in France, where she fell in love with French food and found her true calling.
2. Eiffel’s Tower: And the World’s Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count by Jill Jonnes. The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world’s fair that introduced it. “Despite their eccentricities, I found all of the characters in the book to be endearing,” says FOF Adrienne Whyte. “When I got to the end of the book I actually cried. I felt I had become friends with them.”
3. Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris by Sarah Turnbull. A delightful, fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor.
4. 2009 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay. “This wine is from France’s Burgundy region. It’s a White Burgundy, essentially what we would call Chardonnay in the States. It’s weighty and rich, with flavors of green apple, lemon or pear like a Chardonnay, but more crisp and refreshing, with mineraly notes,” says FOF Jill Silverman Hough author of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love.” It’s great with ham and brie baguettes, because the wine stands up to and cuts the richness of the cheese, readying your mouth for the next bite.”
5. Ham and Brie Baguettes. “On the streets of Paris, vendors sell ham and Brie sandwiches like they sell hot dogs on the streets of New York. This version is jazzed up a bit with arugula and a mustard-mayo dressing, but even still, it evokes a French picnic,” says FOF Jill Silverman Hough author of “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love. “It’s also perfect for entertaining — you can make it in advance, cut it into appetizer-sized pieces and serve it at room temperature. Bon appétit!”
Ham and Brie Baguettes
From “100 Perfect Pairings: Small Plates to Enjoy with Wines You Love” by Jill Silverman Hough (Wiley, 2010)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 cups loosely packed arugula (about 2 ounces)
1. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and mayonnaise. Set aside. (You can prepare the dressing up to 3 days in advance, storing it covered in the refrigerator.)
2. Trim the ends off the baguette. Cut crosswise into 4 lengths. Split each length horizontally, so it’ll open like a book. Gently fold each piece open.
3. Spread the mustard mixture on the bread, dividing it evenly. Arrange the ham, cheese, and arugula on top, dividing them evenly. (You can prepare the sandwiches up to 4 hours in advance, storing them covered in the refrigerator.
4. Press the bread tops down lightly, cut each sandwich in thirds, and serve.
Copyright Jill Silverman Hough. All rights reserved.
6. Parisian-inspired playlist
Plus! A few months ago, FOFs got a chance to chat with Eiffel’s Tower author Jill Jonnes at FabOverFifty’s own French-inspired book club meeting. Eiffel’s Tower chronicles the construction of the iconic tower and it’s introduction at the 1889 World’s Fair in Belle Epoque Paris. Watch the video below.