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The Provence Cookbook Hardcover


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Frequently Bought Together

The Provence Cookbook + Bistro Cooking + PATRICIA WELLS AT HOME IN PROVENCE: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (April 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060507829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060507824
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In books including The Paris Cookbook and Bistro Cooking Patricia Wells offered personal takes on delicious French fare. The Provence Cookbook finds Wells, a resident of the region, evoking the terroir in over 200 recipes culled form chefs, home cooks, farmers, and more. Like her other collections, Provence yields easy but elegant fare--modern, light-on-their-feet dishes like Six-Minute Cod Braised in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Francks's Roasted Duck Breasts with Green Olives. While the recipes are truly French (with an occasional cross-cultural contribution), Wells has done her usual trick of translating them for relaxed American cooking; she's also provided enticing vignettes on local markets; on ingredients, like the nutty camargue rice; and on other culinary suppliers such as Hervé Poron, "The Truffle King." In themselves, the listings make a useful guide.

In addition to the expected categories, the large recipe range includes breads, pasta, and egg and cheese dishes, such as Quick Polenta Bread with Rosemary, Linguini with Saffron, and Baked Arugula Omelet. Desserts are hardly neglected, and include evocative specialties like Fresh Fig and Homemade Apricot Jam Tart, Three Pear Cake, and Individual Cherry-Hazelnut Gratins. Tips like "On Peeling Tomatoes," menus, and photos further distinguish a book that will delight both Wells's fans and those fortunate to discover her culinary France. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Wells is one of the most famous American culinary expats living in France, and she's carved out quite a niche for herself as the voice of France for American home cooks. Provence, a sunny region in the hills above the Riviera, is not a new subject for Wells; although her last book focused on Paris, she authored Patricia Wells at Home in Provence in 1996. For this lively volume, she seems to have combed the villages surrounding her and her husband's "rewarding little farmhouse" in northern Provence to come up with recipes and culinary tips from farmers, winemakers, tradesmen, shopkeepers and restaurateurs. It's a robust collection (with over 200 recipes), encompassing all manner of food, wine and preparation techniques, and a highly personal one too. For example, in the Salads section, the recipe for Mireille's Tomato, Green Pepper, Olive, and Anchovy Salad prompts Wells to expound on her favorite olive oil; while the recipe for the Maussane Potter's Spaghetti, which comes from some of the author's potter friends in the village of Maussane-les-Alpilles, leads Wells to write about her favorite pottery shops in Provence. This could be bothersome if Wells were not so instructive, but her personal digressions serve as important lessons to cooks and to those planning a trip to the area. To that end, Wells includes plenty of travel information, giving the various locations and hours of Provence's many markets and contact information for restaurants and shops. Altogether, this is a lovely cookbook, a celebration of simple, delectable cuisine.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs a popular cooking school--At Home with Patricia Wells--in Paris and Provence. Salad As A Meal is her twelfth book. She won the James Beard Award for The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, and Simply French. Also nominated for Beard Awards were Vegetable Harvest and The Paris Cookbook. With her husband, Walter, she is also the author of We've Always Had Paris . . . and Provence. The French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. For more than twenty-five years she was the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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If you are traveling to Provence, this book is a terrific find.
B. Marold
The Provence Cookbook is that and more, and you will never get tired reading it from cover to cover.
Elena Vakhrenova
The recipes are easy to follow and all that I've tried have been delicious.
J. Ward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

140 of 152 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The cookbooks of `cuisine Provence' just keep coming. The latest is the new book by Patricia Wells, whose credentials for doing a cookbook on a cuisine of France are impeccable, as she has already written seven (7), including an earlier book on Provence entitled `Patricia Wells at Home in Provence'. I made a point of reviewing the earlier book (as well as four (4) of Wells' other books) when I saw the notice of the new book's being published.
Madame Wells gives no clue in this book to distinguish it from the earlier title. She does indicate that it marks the occasion of her living at the farmhouse, Chanteduc, with her husband for the last twenty years. My biggest question about the current volume is, after all the books which have already been published, what new can be said about the cuisine of this singularly fecund culinary terroir? The answer in this book is `A lot'.
Like Wells' earlier Provence book, this book does not dwell on standards such as Bouillabaisse or Salad Nicoise. It presents recipes of local restaurants and bistros and recipes invented by the author herself. There are still lots of references to friends and acquaintances such as Joel Robuchon who happens to be great French chef, but the emphasis in this book, unlike the earlier title, is much more on the restaurants and food producers and vendors of her neighborhood in Provence than it is about Madame Wells and her contacts to the greats of French cuisine. This concentration on contacts in Provence sometimes seems a bit absurd to 99% of Madame Wells' potential audience. What reader / cook in Duluth will have any interest whatsoever in the telephone and fax numbers of `Restaurant Le Mimosa' just outside of Montpellier in Provence?
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By J. V. Lewis VINE VOICE on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In lieu of a Paula Wolfert book on Provence, for which I've long waited, I settled for Wells', and am more or less content with it. I am wholeheartedly devoted to Richard Olney's books on the cooking of the region, and I have to admit that my opinions about Provencal food have become rather ossified orthodoxies under his cantankerous influence. Nonetheless, many of Wells' recipes are so simple in ingredients and preparation compared to Olney's more archly traditional recipes that I have had to approach them with reservations, even trepidation. Is this cookbook for impatient, taste-blind American "ten-minute gourmets"? Well, not really. But I do believe it cuts too many corners. Even some of Wells' more complex recipes lack many refinements of ingredients and technique that make Provencal food what it is: bright, fresh, subtle, and surprisingly nuanced. For example, her recipe for Soupe au Pistou, that mainstay of the Sothern French summer table, lacks six ingredients listed in Richard Olney's transcription of Lulu Peyraud's recipe. Having followed both recipes, the omissions feel serious: Lulu's recipe produces a light, summery soup that is also velvety and complex. Wells' recipe is nice enough, but the results are rather too herby, and the broth is watery and acidic. There isn't nearly enough olive oil, there's too much tomato, and the results just don't taste Provencal to me. But maybe I'm whining. Let me say something nice.

I think Wells hits her stride with the meats. Her recipe for the red wine-marinated leg of lamb is truly great, and her recipe for a simple red wine daube is very good. I did not like the results of her recipe for pork daube with sweet and hot peppers.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia S. Froning on June 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I was so impressed with The Paris Cookbook that I bought this one as soon as I saw it. It is similar in look and feel to the Paris cookbook, but each has its own spirit. The Paris cookbook focuses on the use of produce and meat from city markets as well as recipes from chefs with whom Wells has worked. The Provence cookbook has recipes that highlight fresh food taken directly from the land, simply prepared. I will rely heavily on it this summer, especially for preparation of fresh vegetables from the garden.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A.T. Nielsen on September 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The recipes are simple and almost foolproof. I regularly make the Light Basil Sauce which I find far superior to your regular basil pesto. Make the spaghetti recipe with it, it's fast food that takes about as long as the pasta needs to cook. I would highly recommend making the Roasted Chicken stuffed with Figs and Rice (that may not be the exact title). It's truly delicious. The instructions for roasting are the best that I've come across thus far. Now I can roast a chicken that is evenly cooked and golden brown. The stuffing is fabulous, so haven't changed a thing. While recipe uses a ~5lb chicken, I've made it with 3-4 lb birds and just froze the remaining stuffing in the freeze for the next time that I make this recipe. All the recipes are relatively short and the directions are quite clear. Can't wait to try some of the lamb recipes.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Marsha Wood Wirtel on June 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It seems as though there wouldn't be much left to say regarding the cuisine of southern France. Scores of volumes have covered the territory but that has not stopped Patricia Wells from venturing yet again into the cooking of Provence. And for that we can be thankful, for no one writes more lovingly about the people, ingredients and techniques of Provence than she.
Among the best recipes included in this volume are those that Wells admits she made up on the spur of the moment using whatever fresh ingredients were available at the time. In the text accompanying the recipe for roasted cherry tomatoes she notes that she was seeking something to fill space in the oven, noticed that her cherry tomatoes were ripening wildly and created a recipe right then that has since become a favorite. There is no better lesson in the spirit of Provencal cooking than this - use what is around, treat it well and you will be well fed.
Perhaps more fun that the recipes themselves, if possible, are the profiles of Wells' favorite producers, vendors and restaurantors. These are the people who inspire Wells herself - the farmers and fisherman, the cooks and the market stal owners. Her nod to their dedication and professionalism is lovely and shows the many strands that are woven together to eat well in the classical sense.
Technically, the book is well organized and the instructions are clear. Wells also includes source and contact information for those lucky enough to visit Wells' territory in person. Definitely recommended for anyone who enjoys true, fresh flavors cooked simply in season. That Patricia Wells has managed to cover new ground is a wonder, but she has, in fact, done it again!
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