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Dirt: Book summary and reviews of Dirt by Bill Buford

Dirt

Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking

by Bill Buford

Dirt by Bill Buford X
Dirt by Bill Buford
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  • Published in USA  May 2020
    432 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

From the author of the best-selling, widely acclaimed Heat--a new hilariously self-deprecating, highly obsessive account of the author's adventures, this time, in the world of French haute cuisine.

Bill Buford turns his inimitable attention from Italian cuisine to the food of France. Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking--or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered-- he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes--this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow--to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L'Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed--with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he's learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian.

With his signature humor, sense of adventure, and masterly ability to immerse himself--and us--in his surroundings, Bill Buford has written what is sure to be the food-lover's book of the year.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Buford delivers a vivid and often laugh-out-loud account of the tribulations, humblings, and triumphs he and his family endured in the five years they lived in France...[He] is a delightful narrator, and his stories...are by turns funny, intimate, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking. It's a remarkable book, and even readers who don't know a sabayon from a Sabatier will find it endlessly rewarding." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An American family revels in French culture and cuisine...[Buford] describes in mouthwatering detail the many dishes he cooked and ate and the charming restaurants the family visited. A lively, passionate homage to fine food." - Kirkus Reviews

"Pure pleasure. Masterfully written. If you care at all about food, about writing, about obsessive people with a sense of adventure, you have to read this book. It is, in a word, wonderful." - Ruth Reichl, former editor of Gourmet and author of Save Me the Plums

"Bill's ability to fully immerse himself in a foreign place, seemingly at the drop of a dime, is always a sight to behold. With Dirt, Bill dives deep into the unforgiving kitchen culture of Lyon and expresses what it's truly like to be a cook in this legendary food city." - Marcus Samuelsson

"Bill Buford is an enthusiast of the highest order. His deep dive into Lyonnais cuisine is a detective story, a love story, and an act of bare-knuckled reverence. It's earthy, brainy and delicious." - Pamela Druckerman, author of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

"This well and vividly written paean to Lyonnaise cuisine is insightful, incisive, and informative. From the amazing creativity of Michel Richard to the strict discipline of the Institut Bocuse, from the brutal hierarchy of La Mére Brazier to the making of bread in Lyon and Savoy, Bill Buford weaves a tale as smooth as a pike quenelle and as rich as a Bresse chicken in cream sauce. Alternatively buoyant, humorous and thoughtful, Dirt is a very enjoyable feast." - Jacques Pépin, chef, author, teacher, and co-host of Julia and Jacques at Home

"A thrilling tale of adventure, family, and great cooking inside some of the world's most influential and iconic kitchens, from the Institut Paul Bocuse to La Mère Brazier." - Eric Ripert, Chef & Co-owner Le Bernardin, and author of 32 Yolks

"Bill Buford's Dirt—his memoir of an apprenticeship in the unforgiving temples of French cuisine in Lyon—is a chomping, romping, savoury tour de force: by turns hilarious (often at his own expense); and seriously thought provoking about our relationship with cooking and appetite. Rabelais would have loved it. You finish it stuffed and groggy with happy illumination but as with every great feast, wanting even more!" - Simon Schama, historian and author of nineteen books, including Rough Crossings

"In Dirt, Bill Buford talks his way into the cooking schools, bakeries, and chefs' kitchens of Lyon—in French, yet—while staying (mostly) in his family's good graces. The result is a book to drool for. Magnifique!" - Mary Norris, author of Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen and Greek to Me

The information about Dirt shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Bill Buford

Bill Buford has been a writer and editor for the New Yorker since 1995. Before that he was the editor of Granta magazine for sixteen years and, in 1989, became the publisher of Granta Books. He is also the author of Among the Thugs (Norton, 1992). He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, grew up in California, and was educated at UC Berkeley and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship for his work on Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jessica Green, and their two sons.

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