Word of Mouth
If the strong Euro means that you can’t make it to Paris for dinner or Lyon for lunch in the foreseeable future, then consider a copy of Anne Willan’s new book, The Country Cooking of France. Willan founded La Varenne, the famed Paris cooking school, back in 1975. The author of numerous cookbooks and culinary histories, this is her latest foray into print, a loving tour of the French gastronomic landscape. This coffee-table size tome has memorable photographs by France Ruffenach and takes you from the coast of Brittany to the French Alps and beyond, to Burgundian villages and the fields of Provence. There are homilies to mushrooms, olive oil and the influence of North Africa, not to mention a look at the Calvados of Normandy and the garlic of Languedoc. And throughout are detailed recipes for the classics, from Pate de Campagne to Gigot d’Agneau a la Bretonne and Tarte des Desmoiselles Tatin. It’s armchair travel and dining at its best. And at $50 (and $31.50 on Amazon.com), about the same as the cost of an entree in a decent Paris restaurant these days.