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HOW TO EAT A SMALL COUNTRY by Amy Finley Kirkus Star


A Family's Pursuit of Happiness, One Meal at a Time

by Amy Finley

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-307-59138-8
Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Third-season winner of The Next Food Network Star heads to France to rebuild her life and marriage.

After emerging as the victor, Finley found herself quickly disenchanted by her resulting 15 minutes of fame. The author walked away from it all, regarded by many as a highly controversial move, because her marriage was falling apart and nothing felt “real” anymore. She retreated back to San Diego and her estranged husband and their two small children. But it wasn't long before the author suggested a move to her husband's native France in an attempt to repair her marriage and preserve her family—and her sanity. What emerged from this sojourn is a charming, bare-bones chronicle of a woman reclaiming her family and a couple reclaiming their relationship, all through the healing qualities of time, honesty and food. Wonderful, robust French cuisine (including Finley's own homemade cheese and wine), weathered neighbors and the shops, restaurants and bakeries that dot the French countryside—all contributed not only to the family’s transformation, but the richness of the narrative as well. There is no trace of culinary elitism here, just an unadulterated joy of food, a thrill at a change of scenery and the admirable resilience of a temporarily broken and displaced family. Credit Finley's wisdom to recognize the havoc wrought upon her life by the Food Network publicity machine, endangering the tenets she fiercely held dear. The author's account of her determination to rework her life into one worth living is bracing and uplifting.

A five-star read.