Nov 11, 2022 • 50M

The Bitter Side of France

A chat with Jennifer McLagan, author of Bitter, Fat, and Odd Bits

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Appears in this episode

David Lebovitz
Jennifer McLagan
Talks with my favorite bakers, food producers, pastry chefs, bartenders, cooks, spirits experts, and on other topics, such as travel, Paris, and French culinary culture.
Episode details

France is well-known for its pastries and sweets, but the culture does have a bitter side, which includes bittersweet chocolate, dark and dusky chestnut and buckwheat honey, red currants, assertive gentian apéritifs, bitter almonds, amers like Picon, beers, and leafy salads tossed with bitter greens, such as frisée, roquette (arugula), and Belgian endive.

I first heard of Jennifer McLagan when I saw the striking cover of her book, Fat. Published in 2008, it was a grenade tossed against the fat phobia at the time. (Hard to believe there were stampedes in supermarkets, once upon a time, with people hoarding fat-free SnackWell’s chocolate cookies, which have now disappeared.)

Visit Jennifer's Website!

Around the same time, I was having a difference of opinion over the cover of one of my books, and I constantly referred to the cover of Fat as a great cookbook cover. I was also interested in meeting the person who had the audacity to go against the flow and publish a positive book on something that was so reviled at the time.

Jennifer McLagan went on to write an award-winning book on another brilliant subject, Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes, and keeps an apartment in Paris where she enjoys the bitter side of the city. We’ve become friends, and it was fun chatting with her in this podcast about the bitter foods enjoyed in France, as well as the drinks.

French apéritifs tend to lean toward the bitter side.

Enjoy the podcast!

- David

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Books by Jennifer McLagan

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