The Provence Cookbook
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
his cookbook's subtitle is: '
175 Recipes and a Select Guide to the Markets, Shops, and Restaurants in France's Sunny South
'. What a bargain - all that between the covers of one book. Patricia Wells is the food critic for the
International Herald Tribune
as well as the author of ten books, including
The Paris Cookbook
. This busy woman also conducts weeklong cooking classes in both Paris and Provence. Wells believes the '
an ingredient is best enjoyed when the least has been done to it. Over the years, my food has become simpler and simpler.
' Works for me.
he opens her wonderful collection with Appetizers, Starters and First Courses (Les Hors-d'Oeuvres et Les Entrees) as do most cookbooks. But this one has a lovely twist. Not only does its author give you a mouthwatering recipe for, say, olives, but she adds a brief history of olives and also includes a vendor for olives. Along the way, she makes suggestions - maybe a recommended wine to sip with a completed recipe - or a word about cooking methods. Her snapshots - of vendors, foods or simply pictures of restaurants she likes - are charming. Her essays on various ingredients help us to appreciate a '
', fine cheese, garlic, and so on.
ere I to choose a meal from this cookbook, I'd start with
Black Truffle Open-Faced Sandwiches
accompanied by a glass of bubbly. Then
Bistro de France Garlic Salad
served with toasted country bread. Next, soup -
Creamy Zucchini And Fresh Lemon Verbena Soup
. Fish to follow this -
Tuna Fillet with Myer Lemons and Summer Savory
, with a light white wine. I believe I could squeeze in
La Mimosa's Rabbit stuffed with Pistachios and Sage
while enjoying a glass of red.
r perhaps, instead of rabbit I'd have
Franck's Thyme Marinate Leg of Lamb
. Vegetables next. I'd like a serving of each one in the cookbook, but would settle for
Russian Tomato Gratin and Provencal Carrot Osso Buco
. The above also goes for the potatoes - one each. But I'd order
Bay-Scented Roasted Potatoes
. For my meal I'd skip the Eggs and Cheese, although they all look inviting. I'd ask for just one slice of
Black Olive Fougasse Bread
. By now I'd have loosened my belt - but dessert? Who could resist? I believe the
would top off my meal - but it's a hard choice.
f you can't get to Provence,
The Provence Cookbook
is the next best thing.
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