Book Description

From Publishers Weekly In this witty essay collection, Baxter (We'll Always Have Paris) chronicles his years of learning to prepare elaborate Christmas dinners for his French in-laws. After leaving his Los Angeles home to follow a woman (who would later become his wife) to Paris, Baxter was charged with the serious task of cooking the holiday meal for his relatives. Calling to mind other expatriate writers such as Diane Johnson and David Sedaris, Baxter gives readers insights into both French culture and his own expanding culinary range. In Ninety Degrees of Christmas, he muses on Christmases in his native Australia versus France, and details his mother's preparation of her holiday pudding. Never condescending or obsequious toward his adopted home, Baxter shares insights with the wry perspective of an outsider permitted into a secret world and eager to share the rules with other visitors. Achieving a particularly sensitive balance of allowing readers glimpses into the intimacies of family life while retaining a degree of journalistic distance, Baxter is autobiographical but never intrusive. (Oct.) Copyright ? Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more From Booklist Paris? Christmas celebration combines the family values of American Thanksgiving with a quintessentially Gallic banquet. Having moved from Los Angeles to Paris to marry, Australian writer and film critic Baxter seeks his new bride?s family?s approval and hopes to earn it by preparing a worthy Christmas dinner. In evocative prose, he deconstructs the dinner?s elements and travels from market to vineyard and from butcher to cheesemonger to assemble a dinner his judgmental relatives will appreciate. Baxter continually compares the joys of the French feast with his memories of Australian Christmas, celebrated in the antipodean summer?s heat. He also recounts his own journey from palate-challenged consumer of overcooked meats and vegetables to a world-class connoisseur. Gathering together the freshest oysters, impeccable apples, perfectly ripe cheese, a prime Bordeaux vintage, and a show-stopping roast suckling pig laid out on antique linens finally earns him the family?s acceptance. This is a perfectly realized, utterly enjoyable history of holiday tradition. --Mark Knoblauch Read more See all Editorial Reviews