Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson

September 8, 2016 Memoirs 5

Bonjour, Bookworms!

When I was at BEA back in May, I was pitched a book that sounded ridiculously charming. It was called Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France and it was the memoir of a dude named Craig Carlson who started an American style diner in Paris. Because e’rybody needs bacon. I wasn’t able to get a copy of the book at the convention, but I was able to get it digitally through NetGalley after the fact, which actually worked out better for me. Kindle = convenience = reading in bed. So. Full disclosure. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. They didn’t even offer me pancakes to sweeten the deal, so you know all opinions expressed will be honest. I make no such promises if bacon is offered along with books.*

pancakes in parisYou know that thing where despite a total lack of experience in an industry, you decide to dive in, head first? In an international market? With no idea what you’re doing? Craig Carlson does! He was the product of humble beginnings in working class Connecticut and went on to acquire the American dream: a college education and a boatload of debt. A study abroad program had caused Carlson to fall in love with Paris and all things French, and during a transitional period in his career, he realized the one thing he’d REALLY missed in his adopted homeland was… Pancakes. More specifically, an American style diner experience. So he decided to start a diner. In Paris. With no money and no clue. The book chronicles Carlson’s struggles from idea inception to completion, with all the road bumps in between. Here are some things that I learned from this book:

ONE: French people refer to American style coffee as “sock water” and think it’s totally lame.

TWO: It is really, really difficult to get fired from your job in France. Which is great, I guess, if you’re an employee. Terrible if you’re a business owner and you happen to have hired poorly.

THREE: All those awesome old European buildings I find so romantic probably also have highly unromantic plumbing problems. Old pipes are just no fun, y’all.

If you’re into fun memoirs, culture clashes, or breakfast food, check out Pancakes in ParisThere’s a chance you’ll really want to run out to your local diner afterward though. Fair warning. 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*



5 Responses to “Pancakes in Paris by Craig Carlson”

  1. Megan M.

    LOL WHUT you could not pay me a million dollars to open a restaurant in Paris (or anywhere, really!) that sounds beyond stressful and doomed to failure. I’m sure it made for an interesting story, though. I feel like I would really enjoy France just based on reading Design Mom’s posts about living there for a few years. Also, London. My personality is VERY BRITISH according to Very British Problems.

  2. Katherine Koba

    Having been an American abroad, I can confirm that diner-nostalgia is real. (Having married into a European family, I can also confirm that European distaste for American coffee is real. Hah.)

    There’s a chain in South Korea called Butterfingers that does that kind of breakfast food, but it’s (relatively) pricey and not, like, the greasy spoon you roll into at 3 am. If I were a different kind of person, I would totally do what Carlson did, just in Seoul instead of Paris.

    • wordsfor

      This is amazing. I think that a diner in Seoul would be awesome. If you ever do it, let me know, because, that seems like an excellent excuse to go globetrotting. “My internet friend opened a restaurant in South Korea!”

  3. Unruly Reader

    OK. Totally wanted to read this book *already* and then you upped the ante. Now I want not only the book, but also some strong coffee and some serious pancakes.

  4. DoingDewey

    I’m a little tired of memoirs about France, but if this is was fun and amusing as your review, I’d definitely put it on my to-read list 🙂

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