From podcast host Sutanya Dacres comes Dinner for One, an unforgettable memoir of how she rebuilt her life after her American-in-Paris fairy tale shattered, starting with cooking dinner for herself in her Montmartre kitchen
When Sutanya Dacres married her French boyfriend and moved to Paris at twenty-seven, she felt like she was living out her very own Nora Ephron romantic comedy. Jamaican-born and Bronx-raised, she had never dreamed she herself could be one of those American women in Paris she admired from afar via their blogs, until she met the man of her dreams one night in Manhattan. A couple of years later, she married her Frenchman and moved to Paris, embarking on her own “happily-ever-after.” But when her marriage abruptly ended, the fairy tale came crashing down around her.
Reeling from her sudden divorce and the cracked facade of that picture-perfect expat life, Sutanya grew determined to mend her broken heart and learn to love herself again. She began by cooking dinner for one in her Montmartre kitchen. Along the way, she builds Parisienne friendships, learns how to date in French, and examines what it means to be a Black American woman in Paris—all while adopting the French principle of pleasure, especially when it comes to good food, and exploring what the concept of self-care really means.
Brimming with charm, humor, and hard-won wisdom, Sutanya's story takes you on an adventure through love, loss, and finding where you truly belong, even when it doesn’t look quite how you expected.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In her touching memoir, New Yorker Sutanya Dacres learns that cooking for yourself can be deeply therapeutic. Dacres believed she would live happily ever after when she married a Frenchman and moved to Paris. But when she was blindsided by divorce, she had to figure out how to make the most of her new home city—and craft a menu for her new life as a single person. Part love story, part foodie memoir, part survivor’s tale, this book (based in part on Dacres’ hit podcast of the same name) follows her emotional journey from fairy-tale romance to bitter heartbreak. Dacres’ culinary adventures are a sensory experience in and of themselves, and she helpfully includes a section of recipes at the end. Dinner for One reminds us that being good to yourself is always a good rule of thumb.
Dacres, host of the eponymous podcast, recounts in this convivial if uneven debut how, after her "picture-perfect Paris life crumbled to bits like a flaky croissant," she recovered herself through food. The book opens in 2016 with the author, a writer from the Bronx, divorced, heartbroken, alone in Paris, and estranged from her French Jewish Algerian husband of three years after the slow breakdown of their marriage. What follows is a witty, though occasionally tedious, recollection of how she and her ex-husband, "The Frenchman," met, their three-year "transatlantic" long-distance courtship, and their wedded life in Paris, where food became the third person in their blissful romance ("I was finally having my Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia moments"). Dacres is at her best when indulging readers in her culinary experiences particularly the cathartic act of cooking solo that, post-divorce, allows her to heal: "Beneath the crispy, blistered skin was moist, flavorful meat," she fondly writes of her first roast chicken. "The onions had taken on a sweet, delicious, paste-like texture. I beamed with pride." Despite the book's emphasis on food, though, the recipes at the end feel shoehorned in (among the many dishes mystifyingly clustered together are a leek risotto and raspberry clafoutis). Still, those craving a hopeful comeback story will find much to savor.