Hello hello! And happy French Friday!
Coming at you today with three great books for Francophiles (or, you know, yourself!) this holiday season! Since we can’t travel, this is the next best thing!
Let them eat pancakes
This is the second book from Craig Carlson, author of Pancakes in Paris all about his Breakfast in America restaurant(s) (see my review here) and continues his “American made good in Paris” story in a bit more detail but with his signature good-natured humour.
From the publisher: A second helping of tales on the joys and challenges of working, eating, and loving in France from the New York Times bestselling author of Pancakes in Paris […].
By turns hilarious and provocative, Craig takes us hunting for snails with his French mother-in-law and invites us to share the table when he treats his elegant nonagenarian neighbor to her first-ever cheeseburger. We encounter a customer at his diner who, as a self-proclaimed anarchist, tries to stiff his bill, saying it’s his right to “dine and dash.” We navigate Draconian labor laws where bad employees can’t be fired (even for theft) and battle antiquated French bureaucracy dating back to Napoleon. […] For all those who love stories of adventure, delicious food, and over-coming the odds, Let Them Eat Pancakes will satisfy your appetite and leave you wanting even more.
I really enjoyed this second instalment in Carlson’s story as it delved into aspects of French life that I’m definitely familiar with – the endless red tape and bureaucracy – but with grace and humour. The book is divided into LIVING, WORKING, EATING and LOVING in France and explores everything from labour laws to celebrating Thanksgiving in Paris with a cameo from Supertramp (you know.. Breakfast in America and all that!) and “The Pigeon Man of Paris” whose story simply must be read to be believed! It’s a delightful read that’s as realistic as it is funny – Carlson tells like in France like it is but his love for the country and people (despite all the ups and downs) really shines through his writing. A delightful read. Will also make you want pancakes!
Bisous & Brioche
This cookbook from Laura Bradbury (of the Grape series of books), and Rebecca Wellman this one will whisk you away to the countryside of Burgundy from the comfort of your own kitchen – handy in a global pandemic when many of us are unable to travel!
From the publisher: For years readers of Laura Bradbury’s bestselling Grape Series memoirs have been clamouring for the secrets behind all the mouthwatering meals described in the stories about her life in Beaune, Burgundy. Together with her friend, photographer and cookbook author Rebecca Wellman, Laura shares recipes that have been handed down through her husband Franck’s family or passed on by French friends and neighbours, and that now feature regularly on the menu at her house.
Bisous & Brioche features classics like vinaigrettes, madeleines, crêpes, crème fraîche, tarts, cassoulet, coq au vin—dishes whose names alone will warm the heart of any Francophile. The recipes are served up with anecdotes about their arrival in Laura’s life and are accompanied by Rebecca’s sun-soaked photos of market visits, meal prep, and lazy lunches in the vineyard.
I was actually asked to write a blurb for this book here’s what I said: ” Fans of Bradbury’s “Grape” series will delight at the chance to bring a little bit of French flavour to their tables. Bisous & Brioche brings together recipes handed down through generations and the stories behind them. If you can’t share a glass of wine in Bradbury’s Burgundian kitchen as she prepares a meal for you, this is the next best thing.”
The recipes here are French classics – handed down from generation to generation, written in Bradbury’s signature conversational style (with a lot of humour). As well as being a cookbook, though, it’s a collection of stories of real life in France’s Burgundy region and can be read just like a novel (which is how I read it first!). So, whether you want to whip up a classic French meal or be whisked away to the French countryside through stories, there’s something for everyone, especially now for those of us pining for France.
A Culinary Journey in Gascony
Kate Hill is the reason we own a house in the heart of Gascony and I’ve been a fan of her work since I first spent a weekend at Camont taking part in a food photography workshop (where I fell in love with the region). A Culinary Journey in Gascony was first published 25 years ago and this year, Kate’s updated it and has published it as a special e-book edition so you can bring a little bit of her Gascon magic to your kitchen!
About the book: Kate cruised and cooked along the canals of southwestern France, sharing 80 memorable recipes inspired by the region’s farm-fresh ingredients like homemade butter, goat’s cheese, duck fat. Chefs and armchair travelers alike will cherish this cookbook as a collection of travel tales along with 80 recipes from the heart and soul of Gascony. Features Kate’s full-color photographs of the picturesque Lot-et-Garonne region, full-color food photographs, and a handful of vintage snapshots that bring the history of the Julia Hoyt and her captain to life.
The new edition is a delightful addition to any Francophile’s digital collection and contains photos of the region, illustrations (maps) and some food photos along with stories of life in South West France and, of course, Kate’s recipes. Starting from the apéro, Kate has every course of the French meal covered, along with a useful Glossary of terms and a section about ingredients for those not familiar with French cooking of the region. It’s a wonderful read that will transport you with each story, each recipe. I loved the original but love that this one lives on my Kindle so it’s more accessible more often!
In addition to updating the book this year, Kate’s brought even more of Gascony to you with online cooking classes that you can check out here. As well as a series of six classes that accompany the book, there’s also Camp Cassoulet and French “Basix”. As a former (and current!) student of Kate’s I can recommend these courses for those who want to be transported to magical Gascony wherever you happen to be in the world!
Please note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received copies of Let Them Eat Pancakes and Bisous & Brioche for review purposes from the publishers. I purchased A Culinary Journey in Gascony for myself. I was not asked to write about these books and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own
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