Monday, September 12, 2016

Book review of Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard

French Village Diaries book review Bonjour Kale Kristen Beddard
Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard

My review today is for Bonjour Kale by Kristen Beddard, a memoir about a new life in Paris, with a difference.

Kristen meets her husband Philip in New York, but he was actually born in Geneva, raised in England, had a German passport and spoke fluent French. His work lands them in Paris, which she loves, but she also feels there are some things missing in her new life. The first is kale; the curly cabbage-like vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced, was a staple from her childhood and is noticeably missing from markets, supermarkets and restaurants in Paris.

The other thing missing is her sense of purpose. Her French is limited, she isn’t working and she misses her family and friends. This is when she decides she needs a project and that is to single-handedly bring kale to Paris.

If there is one thing the French know, it is their food and I’ve yet to meet a French person who doesn’t have an opinion on how to prepare, cook or eat whatever food is being discussed (and in France food is always being discussed). To find farmers willing to grow kale, market vendors willing to sell it and restaurants brave enough to use it, was an enormous task when most of them had never heard of it. With determination and an ever-growing network of kale lovers on her side, it is a challenge she embraces and refuses to give up on.

Maybe I have lived in France too long, or just that I prefer courgettes (zucchini) to brasicas, but I have to admit to never having eaten kale, however Kristen’s passion is so strong, her story so inspirational and the recipes she includes sound so delicious I’m off to see if kale has reached rural France.

This memoir ticked lots of boxes for me; the funny settling in stories and mishaps of arriving in Paris, the food and market side to living in Paris and a story that is just a little bit different to other similar memoirs. I highly recommend it.


Bonjour Kale is published by Sourcebooks and available from Amazon in paperback.