Wednesday, August 2, 2017

{Blog Tour} Bonjour Kale - Kristen Beddard (Review, Excerpt & Giveaway)

Bonjour Kale cover

Kristen Beddard

on Tour July 24-August 4 with

Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love, and Recipes

(a Paris memoir) Release date: May 6, 2016 at Sourcebooks ISBN: 978-1492630043 352 pages Website Goodreads  

SYNOPSIS

A memoir of love, life, and recipes from the woman who brought kale to the City of Light. The story of how one expat woman left her beloved behind when she moved to France-her beloved kale, that is. Unable to find le chou kale anywhere upon moving to the City of Light with her new husband, and despite not really speaking French, Kristen Beddard launched a crusade to single-handedly bring kale to the country of croissants and cheese. Infused with Kristen’s recipes and some from French chefs, big and small (including Michelin star chef Alain Passard) Bonjour Kale is more than just a leafy-green. It is a humorous, heartfelt memoir of how Kristen finds herself in a new home and how she, kale, and France collide.

Review:

This book follows the author Kristen as her and her husband travel from NY to France.  Kristen had a very organic and vegetable centered eating pattern and when she moved to France she found out that kale was not readily available.  Kale had recently taken off in America and was found on every street corner.  

I enjoyed learning the history of why kale was not readily available in France as well as more about the markets and how they are setup in France.  I like that vegetables are sold fresh from farmers and only when in season.  I do find it strange in the winter to see so many vegetables readily available at the supermarket and it always makes me question them.  

I loved how the author was able to take her life story about moving to another country and incorporate it into the book it really made the story feel very honest and heartfelt.  Kristen explained the challenges of moving to a foreign country and also gave some basic French expectations that I did not know anything about.  The culture that the author was able to bring into the book made me want to keep on reading more.  I loved hearing the challenges of learning a new language, culture, as well as trying to find a new job all in one book.   The French culture shined through very brightly in this book and would be a perfect read for someone who might be moving to France to learn some important tips. 

I loved the recipes that the author gave in the book.  I enjoyed how she gave details of how the recipe became to be as well as tips when making the item.  I loved how she explained the importance of massaging the kale before making a salad, I find kale hard to eat if not steamed or properly prepared so now I have a large amount of new recipes to try. 

The major item that I didn't love in the book was the length.  I felt like about half way through the author accomplished her point and I felt like some sections began to drag on into one another.  I felt like some sections could have been combined or it wasn't really information that I needed to know. 

I would suggest this as a nighttime read.  It was perfect to end your day with reaching the journey of one person trying to bring kale to another country.  

My Rating: 4/5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bonjour Kale - author Kristen Beddard is the American author of Bonjour Kale: A Memoir of Paris, Love and Recipes and a contributing author to We Love Kale. She is the founder of The Kale Project, a blog and successful initiative that reintroduced kale to France and was featured in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Self Magazine and more. She has a certificate in Culinary Nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute and is currently working on a new book Roots, Shoots and Stalks about food waste and cooking with the whole vegetable. She resides in New York City with her husband and daughter. Follow her @thekaleproject and at www.thekaleproject.com. You can also follow Kristen on Facebook and Instagram
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Buy the book: on Amazon | on Barnes & Noble

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You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to US/Canada residents 2 winners

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Excerpt:

Bonjour Kale: Chapter 3 (Part 1)
Walking down boulevard de Courcelles toward place des Ternes, the Arc de Triomphe peeked out in the distance. The avenue des Ternes was a busy main road, with noisy traffic and chain stores, and was a stark contrast to the small, pedestrian-only rue Poncelet. As if I’d pulled back a curtain and gone back in time, the modern city rush dissipated behind me as I walked Poncelet’s quaint village tableau.
The corner broke into two streets, rue Poncelet to my right and rue Bayen to my left, encompassing more than a dozen small shops. The grocer on the corner featured the in-season cèpes, large fairy-tale-like porcini mushrooms. Sold by the container, their fat tops and thick trunks (which are sometimes filled with insects) were cut in half to display clean insides. The mushroom halves were lined up next to a matrix of dark purple figs, so tender and ripe their skin was beginning to split near the tops. Bumblebees swarmed over each fig tip, hoping for a tiny taste of the gooey, pink fruit.
Taking in the warming scents and rowdy noises, I noticed a boucherie with cow tongues and hooves in the front window case. A rabbit with its brown fur sticking out hung from the ceiling, with a sign clipped to its foot, “Sold.” Men behind the counter wore bloodstained white aprons and worked on wooden counters, dented from years of pounding meat. A handwritten chart hung on the wall, outlining where each cut of meat came from and they rung up every purchase on an antique cash register.
Beads of sweat dripped from the poulet man’s brow as he placed chickens, pink with goose-bump skin, onto rotating roasting spits.
They revolved in rows of eight, attached to a large wall of flames, while potatoes, onions, and peppers cooked below, soaking up the juices dripping from the birds.
Young men outfitted in knee-high, rubber rain boots and bright blue jackets and aprons circled the outside tables of the poissonnerie, shoveling ice chips onto trays of crevette rose (pink shrimp), oursin (sea urchin), and bulot (whelk) that spiraled like the turret of a castle. As each fish was filleted, the heads collected in buckets on the ground, wet from melted ice.
Vendors hollered playfully to each other and at passersby, shouting reasons to buy their bright red strawberries or crisp, green-tipped endive over anyone else’s. Being in this market was magical, like I was part of a sacred daily ritual. We were all there with the same goal in mind: to decide what we would take home that day to nourish ourselves and our families. It felt more real than going to a supermarket and thoughtlessly dumping king-size packages into a shopping cart. The purchases at this market were deliberate and intentional.
Old French grandmas, or bonne-mamans as they are affectionately called, impeccably dressed with not a strand of hair out of place, toddled past, inspecting each piece of produce.
Monsieur, I would like some mirabelles, please,” a bonne-maman said, asking for the small, golden plums that are ripe every September.
Dressed in a fur coat with an elegant walking stick at her side, she stood her ground at the front of the stand, making sure no one cut in front of her.
Bonjour, madame, of course, but today we are selling them on special,” he exclaimed, hoping that his special price was better than the other man’s price a few stands away.
“That’s wonderful, monsieur,” she replied, moving her cane a centimeter to the right, maintaining her balance against the rush of shoppers behind her. “But it is just me and my husband. It is not possible to eat all of these in only a few days!”
“Why, of course, madame. I will give you a poignée, a handful for today, they will be ripe and sweet, and then you will have another handful for later this week, which will ripen over time,” he explained, feeling through the mound of yellow-green fruits, searching for the perfect pieces for today and for later. The sweet granny was satisfied.
The maraîcher knew best. Initially, not being able to pick out my own produce stressed me out. I didn’t know all the words for everything or how to ask for what I wanted—at least not clearly and succinctly. And when you have a line of anxious and impatient
French women sighing behind you, it becomes even harder to speak correctly without a frog in your throat. But I learned to let the market men and women choose. After all, it is their métier, profession. They know better than I do when a peach will be ripe or which apples have a sweeter bite.
Our first market excursion was exciting. I loved the energy, the options, and the smiling people, laughing and so joyful to share their food with you. For my first cooking effort in Paris, I decided not to be very adventurous, but I did want to prepare something using fresh ingredients: salmon, roasted potatoes, and a kale salad. And that’s when it hit me.
“Philip, do you know what I haven’t seen yet?” I asked, stopping midstep by the last vegetable stand on the street. “Kale. Not one leaf.”



6 comments:

  1. Huh, interesting... It also sounds like this would be a non-fiction book but it is fiction! I don't think I have heard of anything like this. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Great review, Kristyn!

    Have a wonderful day. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  2. thanks for your lovely review, so glad there was so much to love for you in this book, including the yummy recipes

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  3. Sounds like an interesting read!! Stinks it was a bit long though. Recipes are always fun to get in a book. Great review!

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  4. Hi Kristyn - Thank you so much for being a part of the tour and reading the book and for the review! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed the book. And... let me tell you, sometimes when I was *writing* the book I felt it was too long as well but my publisher advised me that 320 pages was the standard and preferred length for these types of books. Thank you for finishing to the end. -Kristen

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  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this memoir. Lovely review! I am also on this tour. This book inspired me to enjoy more kale this summer. My daughter made some us some wonderful kale chips yesterday. :)

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