Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking French
Vie De France: Sharing Food, Friendship, and a Kitchen in the Loire Valley
Berkley Publishing Group
Published: June 1, 2003
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"To see and taste and smell all this wonderful food was so heartening to me, I felt I had arrived in heaven," says James Haller in Vie de France. He's referring to the marketplace in the Loire Valley town of Savennieres, but his response
encapsulates his "food encounter" during a month-long vacation he and friends took to the small community, where they rented a charming 17th-century house. The diarylike book details the trip and, in daily menus, the food Haller cooked--delightful
country dishes like Sausage and Red Wine Ragout, Sorrel and Spinach Salad, and Green Plum Custard Tart. Though not presented in recipe form, the meals nonetheless receive sufficient description to whet appetites and encourage cooking.
ex-chef/restaurateur, Haller, in his early 60s, was looking for the next thing to do, and the house and his diary-keeping provided a necessary break that eventually led to a full-time writing commitment, of which this book is a result. His journey from
fearfulness about the outcome of a spur-of-the-moment plan to relaxation and revelation in the French countryside is gratifying. Readers follow the process, joining Haller and company as they discover town butchers where meat is cut to order,
supermarkets with multiple cheese aisles, local chateaux, and more while experiencing some of the predictable crosscultural contretemps. Though narratively thin, and lacking the exploration of self and others necessary to paint a penetrating picture, the
book manages nonetheless to convey the culinary life and spirit of flower-saturated Savennieres. --Arthur Boehm--This text refers to the
When award-winning chef James Haller and his closest
friends toasted his sixtieth birthday, he thought that their dream of spending time together in a beautiful house in Europe would remain just a dream. But a year and a half later, they arrived at a charming 17th-century chateau in the Loire Valley that
would be their home for the next month.
Haller swore not to cook, but the local abundance of fresh foods, herbs, and wines soon had him preparing all the group's meals-and loving it. They breakfasted on oven-fresh croissants slathered with French
butter, strolled endless fields of glorious sunflowers, feasted at delightful cafes, made day trips to Tours for antiques-and relished the spectacular dishes that Haller created from the simplest ingredients. Best of all, they made many new friends-while
sharing priceless moments with old ones...
Featuring dozens of delicious recipes, Vie de France is a delightful testament to the joy of good friends, good food, and reaching for your wildest, most wonderful dreams.
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