☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
About the Book:
Craig Carlson set out to do the impossible: open the first American diner in Paris. Despite never having owned his own business before—let alone a restaurant, the riskiest business of all—Craig chose to open his diner in a foreign country, with a foreign language that also happens to be the culinary capital of the world. While facing enormous obstacles, including convincing French banks to give him a loan, finding “exotic” ingredients like bacon, breakfast sausage, and bagels, and dealing with constant strikes, demonstrations, and Kafkaesque French bureaucracy, Craig and his diner, Breakfast in America, went on to be a great success—especially with the French.
By turns hilarious and provocative, Craig takes us hunting for snails with his French mother-in-law and their attempts to smuggle them past U.S. Customs. We encounter a customer at his diner who, as a self-proclaimed anarchist, tries to stiff his bill, saying it’s his right to “dine and dash.” We navigate Draconian labor laws where bad employees can’t be fired and overzealous inspecteurs can pop in at any moment and close down your business and battle antiquated French bureaucracy dating back to Napoleon as Craig tries to purchase an over-priced Paris apartment the size of a shoebox. When Craig finds love, this debonair French man makes clear he won’t be satisfied until Craig learns how to properly use a knife and fork.
For all those who love stories of adventure, romance, and over-coming the odds, Let Them Eat Pancackes will satisfy your appetite and leave you wanting even more.
I have read several memoirs that were focused on an American’s experience living in France, and I have to say that Craig Carlson’s Let Them Eat Pancakes is one of the most charming. Mr. Carlson’s latest book is a series of essays that take his readers on a short tour of Paris.
I met some quirky characters who inhabit the neighborhood around the author’s home and business as well as experienced the Parisians version of a visit to the park. The author’s experiences dealing with French bureaucrats in order to operate his business are humorously told even though it was undoubtedly highly frustrating while enduring the experiences. Mr. Carlson’s husband, Julien, provides delightful insight into Parisians logic. The gem of the story is the author’s Belle Maman, Elizabeth. She is painted as an amazing woman whom I would love to meet.
This heartfelt book is filled with sweet, funny and poignant moments that span the author’s troubled childhood to his living his dream life in Paris. And yes, if I’m ever able to return to Paris, I will be searching out Craig Carlson’s restaurant, Breakfast in America.
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