Elizabeth, an American widow in her 60s, returns to the Hotel Marcel near The Eiffel Tower, to find Jean-Luc Marcel, the owner of her favorite Paris domicile, at war with The Majestic Hotel directly next door. The elegant dining room, Fusion,at The ‘Maj,' is losing money and customers, due to Jean-Luc's bad-mouthing ofthe establishment and its Japanese chef. Or so the manager of The ‘Maj' claims.
"The Hotel Marcel Dining Club" is formed, in direct competition with Fusion.The rivalry escalates, with an intentional poisoning of a Majestic Hotel client, a roué doctor treating her symptoms, (much to her delight), and the huge success of the Dining Club. Finally, there is a grand opening of a show of paintings by Elizabeth'sartist/amour at a gallery on rue St. Honoré. "The Hotel Marcel Dining Club"shows Paris in all its glory and at its most delicious –(with ‘A Baker's DozenRecipes For the Emotions' included at the end of the book). Along with its cuisine,its love of life and life of love, Paris will surely smile again, after the recent horrors,in spite of the barbarity, for it is indomitable.
Vive Paris et Bon Appetit!
Paris Cuisine The two are synonymous.
On this visit to the Hotel Marcel, I find myself in a food fight! It becomes a contest intense enough to perhaps make one sick. Or worse.
Yet, food is the sustenance of love, and the delightful embellishments that come from exquisite entremets leave little to be desired.
Food. Such a dull word! But how important it is; it supports survival, yes, but is also the essence of love. It not only nurtures the baby at the breast, it feeds the spirit as one grows, and when one is of age, the enormity of food choices and delights to the tongue, give life a particular squeeze of pleasure. No doubt!
Is food a panacea? A remedy for all ills? In many ways, yes. How important and intense is the food connection to emotions and experience! In sadness. When deprived. In love. In sickness. After hurting someone deeply, that gaping hole of remorse. And anger! The need to crunch one's teeth and gnaw on the offender.
Awaiting a trial, a lover's call, a birth. One consoles oneself with constant nibbles to make the minutes fly and keep one from biting one's nails.
And there is celebration. Or depression, after great loss - of money – love – death. A plethora of sweets and chocolate is the answer. In exuberance and elation? What else but champagne and caviar, lobster and liqueurs! Ah, the Final Supper.
I am in Paris once more, the city of dreams. I will find my visit, (I try to come here at least every six months) will have a totally different flavor from any previous sojourns.
And those flavors, the coloration, the experience of French cuisine become an adventurous story unto itself.
Elizabeth Cooke graduated Vassar College and The Sorbonne in Paris. This is her seventh book in the romantic series about a small hotel in Paris, continuing her celebration of her lifelong passion for the City of Light. The first book in the series won The Paris Book Festival 2015 Award for General Fiction.