'Mastering the Art of French Eating': 6 stories about moving to France

When writer Ann Mah heard that her husband had been assigned to Paris as a diplomat she rejoiced, imagining the French food she would enjoy as part of her life in the city. But when her husband was suddenly ordered to Iraq for a year, Mah found herself alone in a city that she didn't really know. How did she get through? By immersing herself in the food and culture of Paris. Here are some of her memories.

1. Steak frites

Nathan Myhrvold/Modernist Cuisine LLC/AP

During her time in Paris, Mah became a student of steak frites, one of France's most beloved dishes. It was a meal she often found herself craving while living in the city. But when she talked with William Bernet, owner of the restaurant Le Severo, she discovered that this fabulous dish may be less appealing when stripped to its fundamentals. Bernet showed her the basement where he keeps his meats but gave an adamant "no" when Mah asked if she could take a picture of his meat locker. "I would never allow a picture of this to be published!" he said. "It's too unappetizing – no one would ever come to eat in my restaurant again."

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