The Married Man
Austin served his guests a first course of smoked fish and a salad in a mustard vinaigrette and a second of lamb shoulder stewed with onions, tomatoes and white beans. Then he passed around a big smelly platter of oozing cheeses, though privately he knew that chalky goat cheeses dusted in cinders were more “distinguished” than these runny Bries and Camemberts, and that skipping the cheese course altogether was still more aristocratic, but he also recognised that he had to fill his skinny young guests up. For dessert, like all Parisians, he bought bakery sweets, since no one in his own kitchen coudl rival the layered and unidentifiable mousses that the French admired and Americans dismissed as “synthetic”.
White does what Hemingway could not, combining adequate writerly reverence for the Parisian experience with the gushing and conspiratorial style of a French society gossip columnist.