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book coverC'est la Vie

Book Review
Continued from page 2

Excerpt #2: Rare, medium, or well-done?

"On a hot day in July, my neighbor and I were out for a stroll to test the best bread in Paris.We discussed bread as we walked: chewy, doughy, yeasty, crunchy; Poilane versus Poujauran--two of Paris's most famous boulangers. We wondered aloud if Poilane's tragic death would change the quality of the product. We chatted and stood in line in the sun, waiting for our chance to buy La Baguette Rétrodor, not only the winner of the contest but a bread with a registered name, its own specialty paper wrapping and a Web site, www.retrodor.com.

"It's no secret that the French take their bread seriously. Every first-time tourist knows to only buy bread at shops that have long lines. We talked about the mass-market chain Paul, from Lille, and whether or not they had gotten too commercial or still offered a valuable product. It was what passed for intellectual discussion in Paris in summer.

"When it was our turn, Dominique asked me how I liked my bread cooked, as if we were discussing eggs or lamb. I happen to like it rare, but I didn't know anyone cared. When it was our turn, she ordered three breads--one not well cooked for me, one very well cooked for her and one regular to bring back to our concierge. Aha, I thought to myself, the way to the concierge's heart was through her taste buds."

Excerpt #3: The rules of Viagra

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