Bistro A [NOOK Book]

Overview

H, an imaginative artist and culinary fanatic, secures a rare invitation to eat at Bistro A in midtown Manhattan, and endures one difficult test after another in an ...
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Bistro A

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Overview

H, an imaginative artist and culinary fanatic, secures a rare invitation to eat at Bistro A in midtown Manhattan, and endures one difficult test after another in an effort to win the chef’s admiration and prove he’s worthy of sampling the restaurant’s famed fricassée.

If the following publications really existed, they might very well write the following:

“A ROLLER COASTER RIDE OF EPICUREAN PROPORTIONS!”
– Fern Creek Gazette

“SCRUMPTIOUS!”
– Fern Creek Chronicle

Bistro A looks closely at how chefs, restaurant staff and restaurant patrons operate and interact, and how cooking, serving others and eating are some of the great joys in life. Given the expression, “Three hours to prepare, five minutes to eat,” the novel aims to show that the greater joy is found in the former, rather than the latter. While Bistro A is serious food writing, it’s also poetic, humorous, ironic, even wacky at times.

Bistro A is offered as an eBook in a Deluxe Critical Edition with 26 original full-color paintings and drawings by the author and 126 endnotes that are digitally linked to the main text. The endnotes represent commentary and criticism by noted experts from a diverse set of fields. [Some believe the author wrote the endnotes himself as a parody of such commentary and criticism. Readers can make their own determination.]

*****

H, the principal character in the novel, sends a simple note to Bistro A:

"Desired. Dinner for two."

It magically leads master chef Jean-Claude, the proprietor of Bistro A, to offer a rare and coveted dinner reservation at his restaurant. Bistro A, touted as “The Quintessential French Bistro,” is known for serving leisurely, traditional, home-style meals by invitation only to a local group of regulars, though it is oddly placed in hectic midtown Manhattan.

At a meeting with Jean-Claude to plan the menu for H’s upcoming dinner,

“I was invited to join him at a small table in the back of the restaurant near the kitchen, its dark wood surface marred by decades of food service. In a fit of passion, or reverence, a patron had carved the word fricassée in the tabletop. The original carving was done, no doubt, with a sharply pointed instrument, but scores of patrons over the years have apparently retraced the letters, perhaps with fork tines between joyous bites of fricassée, widening the gouges, smoothing the flow of letter to letter. How telling! A memorable gastronomic experience immortalized and continually reaffirmed in hardwood.”

Racine, Jean-Claude’s daughter, offers H some French Breakfast radishes that appear to have just been pulled from the ground (not a small feat in midtown Manhattan), and slices of Jean-Claude’s country paté. That prompts H to recall a picnic several years ago with his significant other, V, a free-spirit counterpoint to H, who served her country paté to H in soft grasses at the foot of three young poplars.

The time comes for H to choose a main dish for the dinner next week:

“Fricassée, of course.”

Chef Jean-Claude hesitates. “Not yet,” he says. “There will be other opportunities to have the fricassée.”

Apparently, H will have to work to win the chef’s admiration and prove he’s worthy of sampling the restaurant’s famed fricassée.

So begins a set of unusual, sometimes riotous, and always delicious experiences as H interacts with Bistro A staff and patrons, while seeking the mysteriously elusive fricassée.
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Editorial Reviews

Martha Russell
[Martha Russell wrote cookbooks for the Pillsbury Co. using the pen name Ann Pillsbury.]

I have enjoyed reading Bistro A. Thank you for the privilege. The delightful stories about preparing and eating food convey the critical details that create the experience in its full context. As I read details of the gastronomical and culinary conquests, those environments came to life – I could smell and taste the experiences and feel the relationships. And the art is a lovely complement!
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012225955
  • Publisher: Fred Aronson
  • Publication date: 2/20/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

FRED ARONSON paints, cooks and writes travel essays.

Fred worked for 28 years directing the international activities program of the Association for Computing Machinery, a scientific computer society based in New York. He has traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Russia, China, Singapore and Bali, with a sketchbook, journal, and guide to local food specialties never far from his side.

Bistro A is his first and (perhaps) last* novel.

* Disregard rumors that he’s already written 43.27% of his second.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Bistro A: No Limits

    What was so exciting was that even though my friends and I read Bistro A during the same time frame, each of us came away from it with something very different! Maybe it's because we each brought a different background to reading the book - one a writer, one who's particularly into art, one music lover, ... the other one loves cooking. I'm the music lover and, for example, I could swear I heard Miles Davis in the background during the pandemonium of Chapter 6 when the main character is expected to prepare a tapenade Provencal without any prior experience or even a cookbook! Or maybe it's just Bistro A. A bold and imaginative book that seems to beg your own interpretation. Almost as if the author is challenging you - whoever you are, whatever you bring to the table - to put yourself in the shoes of the characters; how would you react if, during one of the most boring board meetings of your life, just out of reach a Blueberry Buttermilk Bran muffin is practically calling your name? What would you do?? Yes, the book is about food. But as the story unfolded we were introduced to the funny, thrilling world that revolves around food. The people who make it, the people who eat it, what happens before, during and after it. Suddenly food is less defined by simply cooking it, and seems more all-inclusive of many types of people, personalities, disciplines, art forms. And then ... it all collides at a little family-style French bistro in midtown Manhattan.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Bistro A is one of a kind!

    Bistro A has taken me many places I've never been before, even during the main character's first dinner at Bistro A! And I like the gentle way the various characters in the novel are introduced, with their interesting, sometimes quirky, personalities slowly revealed. Dialogue is concise, often very funny, and spot on. With all the vivid descriptions in the novel about cooking and eating, I'm now totally inspired to take some serious French cooking classes. It took me some time to realize this but it's also interesting that while there are lots of detailed descriptions of how the best of ingredients are gathered and meals are prepared, both at Bistro A in Manhattan and in many other locations in the story (like the top of a mountain peak in China), the characters rarely if ever describe how the food tastes. That allowed me to "virtually" experience each dish in my own way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2011

    A fun, informative and delicious read!

    Just had to write to say what a fun and informative read Bistro A is! And I'm not even that into cooking. Although that may now change. Even though it's fiction, every mention of food, recipes, ingredients, what one would expect to find in an "ideal" bistro if there was such a thing, seems to be very well researched. Even the design of the book is very satisfying, although I had to fiddle with the settings on my Nook to get it to look it's best. That's no fault of the author; just a result of how differently the text on different eReaders can look, given that readers can change font style and size, etc. It looks really great on my Color Nook; the full-color paintings by the author are dazzling, and the way you click on the endnotes to move back and forth between the notes and the text really shows an important benefit of Bistro A being an e-book. Gotta go get something to eat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Ann Pillsbury on Bistro A

    [Martha Russell wrote cookbooks for the Pillsbury Company using the pen name Ann Pillsbury.] Dear Fred, I have enjoyed reading your novel, Bistro A. Thank you for the privilege. Your delightful passages about preparing and eating food convey the critical details that create the experience in its full context. As I read details of the gastronomical and culinary conquests, those environments came to life - I could smell and taste the experiences and feel the relationships. And your art is a lovely complement! Congratulations on creating a delightful treat. Martha

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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