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Coquilles, Calva, and Crème: Exploring France's Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair with Real French Food Hardcover – June 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus; 1 edition (June 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605983292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605983295
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Reading this book is like lunching with Gerry Dryansky: from coquilles to Calva, with crème in between, it is seasoned with wit and charm. Rich with food-lover wisdom, it captures what France does best.” (Mort Rosenblum, Editor of Dispatches, winner of the Overseas Press Club, Mencken, Harry Chapin and James Beard Awards)

“I have had the incredible good luck to have eaten dozens and dozens of French meals with Gerry Dryansky, and he was never wrong. I mean, never. We would travel down some little street, to some little restaurant, and then: delight, pure pleasure. There’s nobody I know, in Paris or New York, who understands French food the way Gerry does. And surely nobody who writes about it as well as he does.” (Alan Furst, author of Mission to Paris and the bestselling Spies in the Balkans)

“A delicious and delightful read, especially for those who think they might know this country. When you sit down to a meal with Dryansky, you taste the very soul of France.” (Eleanor Beardsley, France Correspondent, National Public Radio)

 A gastronomical memoir of French cuisine that combines historical facts and traditions with today's best dishes. The Dryanskys' remembrances include the joys of eating ortolans, and drinking an 1874 Mouton Bordeaux at Chateau Mouton Rothschild with Philippe Rothschild and a Japanese ambassador.  The authors write of eating leg of lamb with Coco Chanel in the flat  above her couture house and pieds de cochon, breaded and  fire-roasted pigs' feet, at a brasserie surrounded by local Parisians.  The couple has traveled among farms, vineyards and restaurants across  the country, and they recall with great love their adventures and meals.  They move from the decadent, overblown, gourmet dishes of the past to  the simplicity of the terroir movement, "the unique savor of  things that are what they are because of where they are."

The prose is  as rich and delicious as the highlighted meals, and the authors also  include some of the chefs' recipes for confident or adventurous home  cooks to try. A journey that will delight the palette and nourish the soul.  

” (Kirkus Reviews)

“An appetizing, evocative, eccentric paean to Gallic gastronomy.  A richly textured memoir.” (Colman Andrews - The Wall Street Journal)

“Find an escape to a better world in Coquilles, Calva & Creme.  A book to dream over.” (Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize Winner - The Washington Post)

“Tuck this delicious tome in your hamper between Proust’s madeleines and the champagne—then feast your soul. The Dryanskys remind us that in France – at least sometimes and in some places – authenticity still rhymes with simplicity, and great writing makes a fine relish.” (David Downie, author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Lights and the Terroir food series)

“French food and travel with a dash of history—what a treat it is to sit at the table with this smart, engaging writer. A delicious read from start to finish.” (Barbara Fairchild, winner of the James Beard Award, bestselling food writer and longtime editor of Bon Apétit)

“Has France lost its culinary edge? After decades living and chronicling the good life in Paris and overseas, Gerry and Joanne Dryansky lead us to unsung chefs still championing the country's gourmand heritage.” (Gael Greene, bestselling author of Insatiable: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess and winner of the James Beard Award)

“G. Y. Dryansky is the greatest gourmand in American letters today, the most gourmet of inquisitive journalists, the most French of foreign correspondents in Paris. When he recounts his exciting adventures in France, we're amused as much as we salivate. Delicious and savory!” (Gilles Pudlowski, France's foremost food critic)

“Congratulations to Dryansky.  It was a great pleasure to read his text, both so well documented and free of polemics. ” (Christian Millau, co-founder of Le Guide GaultMillau, herald and godfather of “La Nouvelle Cuisine”)

Coquilles, Calva, and Creme vividly brings back my years of working in Paris in the 1950s. When I contemplate my cooking journey of the last half century, from classic to nouvelle, from fusion to modern American to molecular, the only reminiscences I have is of food that touches my soul or makes me salivate. Gerry Dryansky writes honestly and eloquently about these simple, honest, essential dishes in his engaging, compelling, and delicious memoir.” (Jacques Pépin, winner of the James Beard Award)

“Part memoir, part travelogue, Coquilles, Calva & Creme is a hymn to French food and wine and the joy of wining and dining in France with "convivialité" - which for the French is key.  Dryansky has many a story to tell about the past (lunching with the likes of Coco and Yves) but in this present tour de France he greets each dining experience, each new chef, each new winemaker, and each new region, from Alsace to Le Massif Central, with genuine curiosity, an open mind, and a discerning first rate palate.  This entertaining, erudite, and elegant book is a must for Francophiles and food lovers everywhere.” (Harriet Welty Rochefort, bestselling author of French Toast, French Fried and the forthcoming Joie de Vivre)

“Gerry and Joanne Dryansky's book is a lovely ramble through a lifetime of experiences in France's high spots and some low ones too. Reading it brings as many delights as a marvelous long meal.” (Patricia Wells, food author and winner of the James Beard Award)

About the Author

Gerry Dryansky has called Paris home for more than thirty years, two decades of which he spent as the senior European correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler. He has written for magazines and newspapers around the globe and lives in France with his wife, Joanne, who is the coauthor of this volume.

Joanne Dryansky is the wife of Gerry Dryansky, the senior European correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler. Joanne and Gerry moved to Paris and write screenplays and fiction together. Their recent novel Fatima's Good Fortune, after being published in the United States and worldwide, is going to the screen.

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Customer Reviews

If you love France and French food and wine, this book is a must read!
Songman
Beautifully written culinary travelogue, with mouth watering descriptions and recipes for simple French foods prepared by folks who cook for the love of it.
Ira Friedman
France's glorious culinary traditions are fast fading in place of modernity and convenience, and like worried lovers, the authors write compelling of this.
Bernadette E. Murray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Henri IV on August 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to know what to say about this book. I bought it because of the stunningly positive reviews it received, and began it enthusiastically after reading the comments on the back cover. It's a strange book, in my mind. Structurally, it has no table of contents, no index, and the running heads don't note the chapter name, so one cannot determine the scope of what one is reading without thumbing through the entire thing. The center photo collection could be described, I guess, as either charmingly sentimental or corny/clunky, and it seems the latter to me. The title is an editorial creation that I don't think reflects what the book is about. I live in France, I love to eat French food, I'm familiar with many of the dishes the author has enjoyed--and he has a fondness, apparently, for hearty red meat stews of various sorts, which I generally just don't care for, and I detest tripes. The author seems to eat a lot, which I can't do either. I think I know where to find the best boudin noir, the best tomatoes, the best strawberries, in France, probably in the world...without traveling too far. I did read the whole book, which says something for it. But really my enthusiasm doesn't approach that of the reviewers on Amazon or on the book's back cover. It's ok. It's interesting. It took a lot of focused time and thorough research to write it. But I can't say I'd heartily recommend it. Perhaps it helps people who can't come to France dream a bit more precisely about France and its culinary roots, and surely that's a good thing.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bernadette E. Murray on May 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is nothing short of a great love letter to France from lovers who recount their lives in this wonderful land. The very essence of French culinary culture and tradition is sought, visited, savored and shared with the reader. This is also a sense of loss one feels from what modern progress steals from her. France's glorious culinary traditions are fast fading in place of modernity and convenience, and like worried lovers, the authors write compelling of this. I soon visited Normandy after reading this book, and sought out the very essence of the region as described by Gerry and Joanne Dryansky. It was heavenly. There is something to be said for the most incredibly delicious milk, butter and cheese that hail from this region. I had tasted it already, though, when I read this wonderful, exquisitely conceived book. It's very beautifully written -- a rare find in a book of this kind.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Mac Laurin on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A compelling food lover's road journey through beautiful France, meeting fascinating people, eating mouthwatering food, lovingly detailed meal after meal. The author has captured the true flavor, the essence of France and this from someone who has lived in France for more than 30 years!I've already ordered this book for three friends. Believe me, this is one book that's well worth the trip.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony Sypep on December 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While a deep and extensive knowledge of the history and current status of French cuisine is the heart of this splendid book, these masters of the written word also set the table of the culture in which they take you out to dine. Informative and educational, Coquilles leaves you with the sense that you've met the chef profiled in each chapter and visited that locale. If you weren't a Francophile before you read this book, you will be after. The very first chapter starts you on creating a long bucket list of must dine destinations. The included recipes are a treasure. One doesn't just read Coquilles, Calva, and Creme, one savors it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By randy fertel on August 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With the kind of understatement they must have learned in their lifetime together in France, Gerry and Joanne Dryansky say they led "what some might call enchanted lives." Enchanted indeed. As former bureau chief for Women's Wear Daily, then European correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler, and obviously all the while a formidable trencherman, Gerry Dryansky is a triple threat: fashion, travel, and food. Their wonderful book reflects it, rich in the people, sights, sounds, smells, flavors and micro-cultures of France.

By their account, French culinary arts are in the process of turning from worshipping sophisticated "trophy" cuisine, with its "shaky claim to art," and returning to the roots of French regional cooking. Amongst the trophies, the accent is on creativity at all costs. As if they had read too much Ezra Pound, whatever these high-profile chefs confect, they must "make it new." A new generation of chefs, however, are returning to la cuisine traditionelle where, as in wine, terroir is everything: the taste of the land as expressed in what it produces. Terroirists they apparently call themselves, throwing down the gauntlet. Culinary perfection from this point of view is achieved when "things are allowed to taste of what they are." The Dryanskys borrow our term "soul food" to describe this effort "to perpetuate rituals of attachment that go back to the Middle Ages." This is the French cuisine that won Alice Waters' heart as a student in France and has made such a difference in our own return to "slow food.
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