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PATRICIA WELLS AT HOME IN PROVENCE: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France Paperback – October 19, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The recipes are laid out well, with measurements given in both metric and imperial notation, and there are plenty of substitutions listed for the more obscure ingredients. Be warned, though. . . this is not a beginner's cookbook. Each recipe uses a lot of ingredients and assumes a) that you know what all the ingredients are (lamb's lettuce? orange flower water? sheep cheese?) and b) that you know to prepare each ingredient to the point where it joins the rest of the recipe (grating zest, stemming thyme, cutting basil into chiffonade). The recipes also benefit from close reading and planning beforehand. For this reason, even though the style is "country food," I mostly end up using this book for somewhat fancier dinners.
Once you've started, though, the resulting food is truly superb. No one has ever complained when fed a dish from this book. The Tomato Clafoutis is a summer standard at my place. I served the Winemaker's Grape Cake at a party today, and it was gone in fifteen minutes. There is also a nice section at the back for sauces, relishes, homemade liquors and pantry items called for in the main body of the book. These recipes are simple and keep for a while, so if you are in a place where you can't nip out to the local French-Arab market for preserved lemons, you can put your own up for when you need them.
A word to the wise, though. Spring for a hardbound edition. Although the paperback is lovely, the binding is terrible. The spine glue is weak, and your pages will start falling out in clumps, starting with the two glossy photo sections. It started to fall apart the moment I opened the book, and it just can't hack the heavy kitchen use that cookbooks tend to get.
Many recipes are simple - a "caviar" made with black olives and butter, Goat Cheese Gratin ("pizza without the crust"), raw Grated Beet Salad, Quick Chicken Lemon Soup, Potatoes Roasted in Sea Salt, Lemon-Thyme Lamb Chops.
Others require a bit more time - Beef and White Wine Daube From Arles with Anchovies and Capers, Chanteduc Rabbit with Garlic and Preserved Lemons, Sea Bass in Parchment with Warm Pistou.
One of the nicest aspects of Wells style is her penchant for describing techniques and the reasoning behind them - from the action of citrus in a seviche to filleting a fish to blanching olives or cutting up a rabbit.
A delightful treat for sensuous cooks.
Wells is high in the pantheon of distaff culinary journalist / teachers, on a par with Ann Willen and somewhat less well known than the great Julia Child and Elizabeth David. This book on `home cooking' in the Provence region of France falls, it seems, at the end of a series headed by the book `Simply French' which expounds on the cuisine of Joel Robuchon. This volume covers the high-end `haute cuisine' end of the spectrum. A recent book, `The Paris Cookbook' covers the less Olympian subject of cooking by Paris bistros, restaurants, and purveyors. This is closer to Child's classic subject, `la cuisine Bourgeoisie'. The subject of this review reflects cooking done by Wells herself in Provence, based on the influence of local sources and her own invention. It is a combination of Curnonsky's `la cuisine Regionale', and `la cuisine Improvisee'.
Since many, if not most of the insights into cooking in this book can be traced to the earlier book on Robuchon, it was harder to identify the value of this book in its own right. But, I think I can safely say that this volume stands on it's own two feet by combining the simplicity of home cooking with the healthy ingredients of the Mediterranean ingredients and the cachet of Provence, being an intersection of some of the best of both France and Italy.
My strongest visceral reaction to these recipes is the wealth of things to do with common, inexpensive ingredients such as potatoes, celery, carrots, and tomatoes. My next delight was the variety of bread recipes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love Patricia Wells and devour everything she writes. This book does not disappoint. She transports me to Provence with her as I read on and on for hours. Read morePublished 2 months ago by batgirlie
I wish I had brought it to FL but it didn't get packed. What I saw of it I really liked so will say five stars so far.Published 3 months ago by mary jo kline
Great simple french recipes! First saw the book in a kitchen in our rental apt. in Sablet, Provence! HAD to have it for a french dinner party at home!Published 7 months ago by Susan Morgan
There are a few good recipes but not a lot that I would use, some are impractical for my use. Am sure there are others who feel otherwise about the recipes. Read morePublished 14 months ago by joan l.
Very pleased,thank you. I have not had a great deal of time to cook lately, but I tend to read more cookery books than cook anywayPublished 17 months ago by William Donald Menzies
Was wonderful treat to look at this cookbook again and to recall memories of my travels in Provence. Real food cooked fresh and served outside under the sky or stars. Read morePublished 21 months ago by vero gal
The book was a Christmas gift for my brother who likes to receive used cookbooks. The book arrived within the time frame specified and was in very good shape. Read morePublished on January 10, 2014 by Chuck B
This is a cookbook I've borrowed so many times from a dear and patient friend. Never an excuse to visit, it always came up b/c she had "just" prepared yet another recipe... Read morePublished on December 6, 2013 by WiredinFla
This is a solid cookbook but not essentially provençal--and that is the rub for me. There are many variations on certain dishes that are either italianized or americanized---so as... Read morePublished on July 3, 2013 by A. Droessaert