Beginning French: Lessons from a Stone Farmhouse

1DB503D8-4470-4313-AFB9-1FF5B277D8C6 Eileen and Marty are Americans who dreamed of living in France.  They bought a 400 year old farmhouse with a charming layout; they purchased it online.  I am personally not that brave.

There is much style in their new home and as they begin renovating to their taste it becomes the home they always wished for.  Oh, it’s full of issues here and there such as a bursting water heater that destroys all their furniture  and carpets, electricty issues where it just goes out completely if more than two applicances are plugged in, and of course a small language problem.

I’ll hand it to them, they did learn enough French to get by in restaurants and shoppping, talking to neighbors and such.  I always felt if we became ex-pats we would absolutely need to learn the language of the county.

There is French conversation sprinkled throughout the book and an interactive glossary embedded  in the book.  If your Kindle isn’t on airplane mode you can click on the French word and see the translations.

The book has many recipes, courtesy of Sara their chef daughter.

Goat Cheese souffle
Mussels with Almonds
Roasted Figs with Goat Cheese, wrapped in Pancetta
Tomato Peach Salad
Duck Burgers and Onion Jam

At the end of the recipe page it states you may go to for more recipes and photos.  When I tried that you will find that website doesn’t exist and the URL is for sale.  I guess they abandoned it.

Also, it seemed enough time was spent explaining  how Marty “unwittingly” flirted with the carpet installer, Jaqueline, and how Eileen actually left him for weeks for me think, this was a major event in their lives there.  By the way, Jaqueline is described as looking like Marion Cotillard’s younger sexier sister.  I had wondered if Marty and Eileen still lived between Califormia and France and had to look online.  I guess they do.

Food inspiration for me wasn’t anything mentioned in the book, although I was tempted by the roasted figs.  Instead I went with a French chef and recipe from Jacques Pépin.  Here is Fettuccine with Summer Vegetables.   I’ll be posting the recipe at Squirrel Head Manor tomorrow or Wednesday.


Much thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this complimentary copy of Beginning French, a travel memoir . This was originally published in 2016.

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