I’ve always been a sucker for a good travel memoir, and since Ann Mah’s Mastering the Art of French Eating involved Paris, Provence and the like  and the country’s most celebrated cuisine including crepes, cassoulet and all matters of cheese, well, it was practically a no-brainer.

Even if I’d just eaten dinner, the book made me incredibly hungry—always a good sign that something is hitting all the right sensory notes.

What makes Mah’s account of her year in France so memorable is how she introduces each new chapter. Divided up by dish and region (for example, Chapter 1 is titled Paris/Steak Frites), you not only get Mah’s perspective on French food, but she weaves in anecdotes about being, much like Julia Child was, a diplomat’s wife in a strange new land.

To combat the inevitable loneliness, Mah embarks on a thrilling comfort food adventure. From learning how andouillette sausage is really made to the many joys of sampling Salade Lyonnaise, it’s the little universial life truths she uncovers in the process that stick with you.

Oh, and if you’re feeling ambitious, she’s included plenty of recipes so you can enjoy la bonne vie (French for “the good life”) in the comfort of home.