Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France
Ethel and Sara beguile you with recipes and stories from their summer childhoods as they traveled with their respective families from Paris to Provence. In markets, cafés, truck stops, bakeries, bistros, and French family homes, the girls experienced their first taste of France, re-created here through recipes, stories, and photographs.
Inspired by her memories of truck-stop lunches sitting next to tables of grizzled truckers, Ethel gives us Steak au Poivre à la Sauce aux Morilles (pepper steak with morels). Sara’s whimsical game of using her asparagus as soldiers’ spears to guard her food from her sister is the source of her recipe for Les Soldats (soft-boiled eggs and fresh asparagus spears). Lingering over late-night dinners with grown-ups and listening in on their stories of the resistance and wild boar hunts inspired Ethel’s recipe for Fraises au Vin Rouge (strawberries in red wine syrup). Rosemary and its powerful scent, first discovered by Sara while hiking with her family in the Luberon Mountains in the south of France, infuses her recipe for Cotes d’Agneau Grillées au Romarin (grilled lamb chops with rosemary). From Îles Flottantes (poached meringues in crème anglaise) to Escargots (snails in garlic butter), and from Merguez (spicy grilled lamb sausage patties) to Ratatouille (summer vegetable stew), each recipe reflects Sara’s and Ethel’s childhood experiences in Paris and Provence.
Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Carrie, on Paris to Provence:
Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington had a childhood unlike most American kids. While they spent most of their time in typical American towns, their summers were spent in France, in cities and towns, at farmers markets and lakeside beaches. Paris to Provence: Childhood Memories of Food & France captures their childhoods in France through food, remembering the journeys and typical days through what they would eat. Beautiful photos round out their stories, transporting the reader into their lives effortlessly.
I don’t usually read cookbooks for the narrative, but that was such a key part of Paris to Provence that you will truly miss out if you use it exclusively as a recipe resource. Take the time to read it from cover to cover, poring over the photos and imagining yourself in Ethel’s and Sara’s shoes. It’s all part of the experience.
The recipes range from the super-easy Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Bar Sandwiches) to the more complicated endeavor of making your own Rustic Country Pâté. The organization has more to do with the part of their journey the women are discussing than the typical arrangement (so there’s a section for café recipes, another for afternoon snacks…). Don’t expect to browse it and find all the desserts in one place and appetizers in another. Luckily, the index is easy to use if you’re looking for a particular recipe. All are flavors France is known for, but there are plenty of options for less adventurous palates.
The Cookbook Basics:
Hardcover (7.9 x 9.8 inches); Kindle edition
224 pages; 100+ color photos
Chapters and sections: The Road Trip; Les Marchés; Street Food; Cafés and Bistros; Afternoon Snacks (Goûter); Meals with Friends and Family; Metric Conversions and Equivalents
About the authors:
Ethel Brennan is a writer and photography stylist. When she was a child, she and her family lived in Provence, where her parents owned a goat cheese farm. Although her family returned to California while she was still young, most of her childhood summers were spent traveling in France from Paris to the rustic countryside of Provence where her parents kept the farmhouse. She is now based in San Francisco and travels frequently to France with her twin boys and French husband. She is the author of Herbes de Provence, Baby Gifts and co-author of Citrus, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, A Children’s Kitchen Garden and most recently At the Farmers’ Market with Kids.
Sara Remington is an award-winning food and travel photographer based in San Francisco. She has photographed over 30 cookbooks, including The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders, My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino, The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton, The Wild Table by Connie Green, Plum Gorgeous by Romney Steele, and Vino Argentino by Laura Catena. She was nominated for a James Beard Award for her photography in The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook and continues to travel the globe shooting for publishing companies, editorials, and advertising. Her work is inspired by the tactile and visual experiences of her childhood road trips in the United States and France.