Four Biweekly Thursdays: February 8, 22, and March 7, 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET Online
Lecture and Discussion. This live class will be recorded and available for later viewing.
In this class we will look at Paris through the (necessarily rather unromantic) eyes of those who have lived the life of those who serve the rest of us in Parisian restaurants. We’ll start with Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell’s classic 1933 account of the time he spent in Paris in 1928-29 working in a series of restaurants as a dishwasher in a fancy hotel and working his way up to being a waiter in a not-so-fancy Russian restaurant. Next we’ll read an updated version of the adventures of a penniless Englishman would-be writer in Paris in Edward Chisholm’s A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City.
We’ll take a detour to kitchens in other places (Provincetown, New York City) with Anthony Bourdain’s memoir, Kitchen Confidential, as he recounts his life as a line cook (whose first memorable culinary experiences took place in France). We’ll end our tour of the world that exists on the other side of the threshold between kitchen and dining room with Pancakes in Paris, Craig Carlson’s account of his unlikely success creating an American-style diner in the heart of Paris in the early 2000s, an adventure he describes, with his tongue not entirely in cheek, as “Living the American Dream in France.” All four of these books will give us insight into the world of those who work in restaurants; but it will also offer a view of life as it has been lived by four very good writers who made conscientious decisions to live their lives on their terms: convention (and sometimes common sense?) be damned!
Four Thursdays: February 8, 22, and March 7, 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ET Online
Reading and Discussion Schedule:
February 8 Down and Out in Paris and London (Orwell)
February 22 A Waiter in Paris (Chisholm)
March 7 Kitchen Confidential (Bourdain)
March 21 Pancakes in Paris (Carlson)
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (9780156262248)
A Waiter in Paris: Adventures in the Dark Heart of the City by Edward Chisholm (9781639362837)
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain (9780060899226)
Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France by Craig Carlson (9781492632122)
Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher who lives in Essoyes, a village in southern Champagne, on the border of Burgundy. She writes frequently for Bonjour Paris, France Today, and France Revisited, as well as for her blog, Writing from the Heart, Reading for the Road. She created and has taught “Paris: A Literary Adventure” for the City University of New York since 1997, and has taught literature and culture classes at Politics and Prose since 2011. Janet is the author of Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You, and A Long Way from Iowa: From the Heartland to the Heart of France. Her perspective, developed over more than 40 years of extensive time spent in France, much of that time in Paris, will enrich our discussions.
REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.