Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington
Who would turn down childhood summers spent in France, traveling between a farmhouse in Provence and the glamour of Paris, or taking a long road trip through Bordeaux, stopping off in Saint Malo and Lyon and ending up in on a beach in the Mediterranean? Who wouldn’t love to offer such a life to their own children? If that’s not immediately possible for you, then you can take vicarious pleasure in reading and cooking from this beautifully photographed cookbook/memoir written by two lucky women who had that very childhood and more.
• Who wrote it: Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington
• Who published it: Andrews McMeel
• Number of recipes: over 50
• Recipes for right now: Soft-Boiled Eggs and Fresh Asparagus Spears, Warm Goat Cheese Salad, Onion Tart (Pissaladière), Socca, Citron Pressè, Rosemary Grilled Lamb Chops
• Other highlights: Both of the authors of Paris to Provence spent their childhood summers in France, primarily in Paris and Provence. Although they didn’t meet well into adulthood and are 10 years apart in age, they bonded instantly over this shared experience, which led, eventually, to their collaborating together on this book. Here they share the food and memories of the unique and beautiful childhood their parents gave to them, which they in turn are passing on to their own children.
The recipes are classic French offerings such as Poulet Roti avec Pommes de Terre (Rotisserie Chicken with Potatoes), Quiche Lorraine, Pan Bagnat (Nicoise-Style Tuna sandwich), Madeleines, Le Grand Aioli. There’s nothing new or earth shattering here, but that’s part of the appeal. This book reminded me that mastering the basics (roast chicken, quiche, lemon cheesecake) is an important, and really fulfilling, endeavor.
Sara Remington’s photographs are beautiful, often showing us the finished dish but also scenes from cafes and markets, as well as happy, well-fed children enjoying and exploring the French countryside.
• Who would enjoy this book? Anyone who has dreamed of spending extended time exploring France, eating the food and discovering the countryside, and especially those would like to share that experience with their children. I could see a parent sharing this book with her child, reading the text and looking at the pictures, and cooking some of the dishes together, perhaps as a preliminary step towards traveling to France together one day. Dreams, after all, do occasionally come true!
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food and France by Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington
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(Images: Dana Velden)