Format Hardcover
Publication Date 12/17/08
ISBN 9781605980201
Trim Size / Pages 7.3 x 5.4 in / 256

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Provençal Cooking

Savoring the Simple Life in France

Mary Ann Caws

A savory tribute to the simple joys of life in Provence—great company, delicious food.

More than thirty years ago, Mary Ann Caws, then a young professor, moved to Provence to translate the poetry of Provençal poet René Char. What sounded like a simple romantic sojourn turned into a journey of self-discovery on the joys of living simply and enjoying the maxims of the Provençal "good life"—good company, good food, and great wine, preferably from your neighbor's vineyard. There was little else in the way of material goods. Her little cottage, her cabanon, had no running water, no heat, no electricity. When she arrived that first day with her young family in tow, the house was even missing a wall and almost half of the roof. The rest of the place seemed held together only by weeds and brambles. Mary Ann and her family were never happier. The beauty of the olive trees, cherry orchards, marketplace and vineyards dictated the rhythm of their new lives. The process of preparing food and then sharing it with friends and neighbors came to embody the essence of their existence on the hillside of Mount Vertaux. Now, in this delightful and lyric meditation on Provence and its food, Mary Ann invites you to sit down at her table and share in some of her favorite recipes, the recipes of her neighbors, and her delicious memories of life in France.

Mary Ann Caws is a Distinguished Professor of French, English, and Comparative Literature at the Graduate School of the City Univeristy of New York. The former co-director of the Henri Peyre French Institute and an officer of the Plames Academique, Caws has lectured all over the world and is the author or editor of more than twenty books.

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Endorsements & Reviews

“When CUNY professor Caws traveled to Provence over 30 years ago, she simply wished to translate the poetry of René Char. Quite soon, however, she came to deeply love the region and in this slow-paced memoir, Caws sings her paean to Provence by praising its food, it markets and its languorous lifestyle, With great humor and gusto, she tells the tale of how she and her husband bought their cabanon, or cottage. Meeting over a glorious lunch with the agent and the seller, the Caws slip the seller an envelope of cash under the table and end up with a dilapidated structure with no electricity or running water. She praises the virtues of community held so dear by her neighbors: villagers pay great attention to each other and to the timing of things. The first memoir section of the book simply traces her day-to-day life of cooking, translating poetry, going to market and visiting friends, mostly for long and sumptuous meals. In the second section of her memoir, she includes some of her favorite recipes from her friends in the region that can be prepared quickly and easily.”
“Joyful and eloquent...In its love of place, in its simplicity and wisdom, it is a kind of Walden with delicious recipes. --Frederic Tuten, author of The Green Hour and Tintin in the New World
“Charming…any reader planning a trip to the area would do well to take note.”