Cooking in Provence

Alex MacKay, Author, Peter Knab, With
Alex MacKay, Author, Peter Knab, With Headline $45 (192p) ISBN 978-0-7472-4311-3
Reviewed on: 03/01/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4481-1862-5
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-09-192494-2
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A joint venture of photographer Knab and chef Mackay, this beautiful, coffee-table quality cookbook celebrates the team's partnership in the cooking school Le Baou d'Infer in Provence. Reminiscent of Richard Olney's Provence: the Beautiful Cookbook and Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, the volume will satisfy both armchair travelers and armchair chefs. Each section begins with a charming, personal introduction to a particular aspect of classic Provencal cooking: fresh produce, local seafood, daubes and bouillabaises, wild foods such as game and mushrooms, fruit-filled desserts and pantry standards such as pates, purees, confit and confiture (jam). These chapter introductions and the recipe head notes are also peppered with Mackey's amusing insights on the region's customs and idiosyncrasies. Near the beginning of the volume, for example, he describes the legendary mistral wind, which can be so irritating that""if it lasts for more than 5 days, a husband has a legal right to kill his wife"" (or so the rumor goes). The design of the book has a restrained elegance; Knab's photographs of the food, the French and the environs are vivid enough to inspire envy in those who do not live in Provence. Since the volume focuses on classic recipes for traditional dishes like Petite Friture (Deep-Fried Whitebait) and Salade Nicoise, there are few new tastes in this cookbook. But there are variations: in addition to a clear and simple recipe for the classic Beignet de Courgettes et Ses Fleurs (Courgette Fritters), Mackay offers an alternate way of preparing these ephemeral short-season squash blossoms: Fleurs de Courgettes Farcies aux Tomates (Stuffed Courgette Flowers with Tomatoes). This lovely cookbook will surely tantalize the inexhaustible interest of Provence fans.
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