Spotted Dick S'il Vous Plait: An English Restaurant in France

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9780449910474: Spotted Dick S'il Vous Plait: An English Restaurant in France

"I never would have believed that anything could make me want to go eat English food in Lyon, but Higgins's delightful book has done so."
--Mimi Sheraton
When Tom Higgins, a translator, and his wife, Sue, a physician, decided to set up an English restaurant in Lyon, France (the country's capital of fine dining), they had no idea what they were getting into. In this delightful memoir of their first eight years in business, Higgins recounts all--from the amused disbelief of their neighbors who regard English food as a joke, to the frustrating impenetrability of the French licensing bureaucracy, from the positive delight in choosing wines and creating menus, to, ultimately, the extraordinary feeling of running a good restaurant that pleases the most fussy diners in the world.
Included in this charming tale are twelve typically English recipes
that anyone can make!

"After Peter Mayle comes Tom Higgins in Lyon. . . . Delightful reading."
--BBC Good Food
"Tom Higgins provides a wonderful insight into the French people and their way of life. . . . He is a natural raconteur."
--En Route

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From Publishers Weekly:

The idea of a restaurant specializing in English food was a joke to the people of Lyons, gastronomic center of France. Typified by overcooked meats and vegetables, soggy puddings and revolting jellies, English food was not dignified as a cuisine at all by the Lyonnais. But Higgins and his wife, Sue, loved the city and, having always wanted to run a restaurant, ignored all warnings and found a house in a low-rent section of town, where they lived on one floor and ran their restaurant on the other. Higgins, a translator, had done time as a waiter and sometime cook in English restaurants but had never run one himself. Sue's experience as a British physician was, at least, irrelevant. The couple's travails in persuading bankers, bureaucrats, suppliers, workers and, above all, patrons that theirs was a serious business are often hilarious. Their droll reflections on local characters, markets, French eating habits and all the problems of running a restaurant anywhere, but particularly for foreigners in France, faintly echo Ludwig Bemelmans's classic memoirs of his hotel-keeping days. That the Higginses persuaded the French to demand English meat loaf, "spotted dick" (pudding with raisins) and other scorned English dishes is the miracle of their eight-year-old success.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Higgins, an Englishman, was working as a translator when he and his wife decided quite spontaneously to open a restaurant in Lyon, France. If running a restaurant is a challenge under any circumstances, it was an especially exciting feat for this couple, who had precious little previous experience between them. Discovering rodents during renovation and bureaucratic red tape were not enough to deter Higgins. His charming account charts the bumps and glories of the business over the past eight years in what may arguably be considered France's second city, though to many it ranks first when it comes to the culinary delights found there. Even if nothing terribly surprising ever occurs, Higgins' tale is full of amusing anecdotes that often revolve around the presentation of English food to the French. A provocative idea, to be sure. The book includes a sampling of recipes. Alice Joyce

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