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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a bit of the Domaine in my house, August 11, 2006
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This review is from: Lulu's Provencal Table: The Exuberant Food and Wine from the Domaine Tempier Vineyard (Hardcover)
Richard Olney probably came closer to perfection as a cookbook author than any other American. His books are exquisite models of focus, structure, warmth, and practicality, and his treatment of food and wine somehow manages to be simultaneously perfectly balanced and highly personal. Next to Olney's cookbooks and vinyard monographs, the oevres of James Beard and Julia Child, for example, feel overblown, oversold, and downright sloppy.

Olney's warmhearted incision is the perfect match for the home cooking of Lulu Peyraud. Mm Peyraud is the Marseille native, mother of seven, keystone of the Bandol food and wine community, renowned home cook, and owner-operator of Domaine Tempier, widely considered the finest vinyard of France's Mediterranean coast. Most famously, she is gratefully credited by Alice Waters, Kermit Lynch, Jeremiah Tower, Paul Bertolli, and a host of other American food heirarchs with being their inspiration and touchstone. But for years before America found the simple pleasures of expertly-prepared, highly-local, regional foods, Lulu and Richard were cooking lunches for each other under their respective grape arbors. This book is a broad sample of those meals. In it, Olney documents the preparation, from farm and fish-market to plate, of Mm Peyraud's favorite family meals. Each recipe is presented with notes on ingredients, irregularities and seasonal adjustments in Mm Peyraud's preparations, lucid explanations of techniques, and reminders to keep things loose. The result is a highly-informative glimpse into the regional cuisine that forms the culinary hunge between France and Piedmont-Liguria. This cuisine is one of the world's most satisfying, and I believe that this book is its greatest Testament.

I won't single out any recipes this time. The book is full of stunners from salad to desert. Buy this book and a couple of bottles of Domaine Tempier [a rose and a red, for starters], and serve those wines, chilled Provence-style, with a sampling of these magical dishes. Serve them, if at all possible, under a grape arbor on a hot, sunny day in an ocean breeze. And raise a glass to Lulu and Richard for their generous hospitality.
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J. V. Lewis
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