We know we’re not the only ones with memories of pouring over The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris in anticipation of a trip, or carrying a dog-eared copy of this classic around the city. For us, it was the only guide book that mattered, and we’re thrilled that Patricia Wells has at last updated the tome, in app form. Here’s the back story, from Patricia herself. – Meg & Barbra
For years, people have stopped me on the streets of Paris to ask the same question: “When are you going to update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris?”
When the last update was published in 1999, I felt that I needed to move beyond the guide. My cooking classes, travels, other books, took up all my time and I was beginning to feel like a singer who was expected to belt out the same song over and over again.
Then one day a little more than a year ago my husband, Walter, turned to me and said. “Why don’t you update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris as an app for the iPhone?” I didn’t need to think for even a second. It’s as if the guide was always meant to be an app. Where you can find an address on a map. Call the establishment by just pressing a button. Connect to their web site. Find places open on Sunday or Monday. The best roast chicken or black truffle dish.
I laugh now when I think of how primitive our conditions were when we began researching the guide in 1982: no home computer, no home copier, no Post-it, no Fed Ex, no fax. We typed our copy on carbon paper on a portable Smith Corona typewriter and sent the manuscript via snail mail.
But many conditions remain the same. After 32 years of research in Paris, I still l get lost exiting certain Métro stops and criss-cross the city rain or shine until my feet will no longer take me where I want to go. Research is research and writing is writing, and that will never change.
The entire app experience has been thrilling. And a bit daunting. As well as a gamble. When you write a book, the publisher pays you an advance, you write it, and let them deal with copy editing, layout and design, promotion, distribution, sales. With an app, you’re a one-man band. Unless you have a sponsor or advertiser (we didn’t) you fund the entire project. You interview developers and hire the best. You work on the design, look, feel. You write, edit, copy edit, take photos, crop, dot the i’s and cross the t’s. And then you get to do all the promotion. It’s all been a learning curve, and a good one at that.
As an author, an app offers instant gratification: I love the fact that I can make unlimited minute-by-minute updates, change a review, add a new photo, delete an establishment I may no longer think is worthy. And I no longer have to walk down the street saying “Never” to the reading public.
Android? Blackberry? The future will tell. I am researching and writing as fast as I can: A book update to The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris is in the works, with all new photos and recipes, so no one ever need go hungry in Paris again!
For more information and to purchase the app, visit www.foodloversparis.com