On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town
Susan Herrmann Loomis
Broadway, 2002 (2001)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth
just spent two days in Normandy, France - a very pleasant two days reading Susan Herrmann Loomis' account of her love of France, in particular its foods. And people. And small villages. And Paris. Ah, Paris. Loomis was fortunate to obtain an apprenticeship at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine – a prestigious cooking school in Paris. She not only perfected her cooking skills, she also formed a twenty-year association with France that continues to this day.
oomis and her husband bought an old convent in Louviers, a picturesque village in Normandy. She planned to use this place as a base for her plans to write a cookbook on French farmhouse cooking, while also researching food articles for various publications. Restoration work was required to make the broken down old building into a home. Tales of the couple's trials in dealing with various villagers in a professional capacity are delightful. As too is the story of their run-in with a trespassing priest. But most enthralling are descriptions of the foodstuffs available to the author - and what she does with them is nothing short of rapturous. Each chapter is festooned with recipes for wonderful sounding dishes. They range from the exotic –
Roast Leg of Wild Boar
– to good old favorites (but with a twist), such as
Red Pepper and Tomato Salad
good portion of a Frenchman's day is apparently taken up by the pursuit and preparation of ingredients for meals, often shared with others than family. The conviviality at the Loomis table – whether it be inside or out – is enviable. The story of French children discussing foods while they consume their lunches is little short of fantasy. Imagine American kids talking about their meals - wouldn't happen. The author's depiction of her life
On Rue Tatin
is engaging and charming - as she experiences the stuff of which dreams are made.
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