- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Harper (March 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062309412
- ISBN-13: 978-0062309419
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Duck Season: Eating, Drinking, and Other Misadventures in Gascony--France's Last Best Place Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 7, 2017
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“[McAninch] falls in love with the area in beautiful and unexpected ways… Readers come away with a taste and respect for a regional commodity, a handful of enticing recipes, and a new appreciation for friendships unfettered by origin or boundary.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[Duck Season] stimulates our most lustful pleasures, namely, the discovery of a new place through its cuisine…If poetry is to literature what cuisine is to culture, then lusty [Duck Season] offers poetically seductive words.” (Huffington Post)
“Filled with descriptions of food that will have readers’ mouths watering, this book is a heartfelt foray into an often overlooked area of France… McAninch’s ode to the people, food, and culture of Gascony is a traveler’s delight. Readers will be…ready to hop on a flight to France” (Booklist)
“This is the definitive book on the Gascon spirit…readers of any origin will want to buy a plane ticket to the Southwest of France the minute they put down the book.” (Ariane Daguin, founder and CEO of D'Artagnan Foods and a James Beard Foundation Awards Committee member)
“A magical book about an overlooked part of France where the civilized things in life-namely cooking, eating, and gustatory pleasure-take center stage. Duck Season is a heartwarming reminder to celebrate what matters.” (James Oseland, author of the James Beard Award–winning Cradle of Flavor)
“…[W]ith deep knowledge…and a wordsmith’s mastery, McAninch unveils the uniqueness of a particular collection of French folks, their kitchens and dining tables, their hills and valleys, and their particular (dare I say peculiar) history, leaving me with a near-insatiable desire to get to know this place firsthand.” (Rick Bayless)
“Employing an embedded journalist’s curiosity, a gourmand’s appetite and a humorist’s light touch, [McAninch] poses …, ‘In an age of globalized everything, is there anyplace left that still feels truly French?’ The answer…is absolument.” (Mark Adams, author of the New York Times bestsellerTurn Right at Machu Picchu)
“[I]t is impossible to read Duck Season and not consider devising at least one adventurous, authentic excursion. McAninch’s writing is steeped in the notion that one need not go far to...experience a place, its people, and its oddities...An adventure in your own kitchen can be the best kind.” (Christian Science Monitor)
From the Back Cover
Welcome to Gascony, the other South of France: a land where ducks outnumber people twenty to one, tourists are few, wine is still the midday drink of choice, and eating to your heart’s content is not a sin but a commandment.
In this indelibly smart, affectionate culinary memoir, food writer and lifelong Francophile David
McAninch chronicles an eight-month epicurean journey in France’s rural Southwest: the ancient Gallic cradle of foie gras, confit, and magret de canard, among other duck-centric delicacies. Intrigued by Gascony since traveling there on assignment for a cooking magazine, McAninch persuaded his wife and young daughter to move to a small, unprepossessing village in the Gers—Gascony’s heartland and one of the least urbanized départements in all of France—and attempt to live as the Gascons do.
Installing his family in a drafty, two-hundred-year-old former textile mill straddling a river, McAninch sets out to master ultratraditional—and unabashedly rich—Gascon dishes, like wine-braised duck legs, poule au pot, garbure (a meaty peasant soup), and cured duck breast, and rustic yet exceedingly hard-to-pull-off desserts, including the formidable hearth-baked confection known as gâteau à la broche. He provisions his meals at the weekly market; imbibes the inky local wines; immerses himself in Gascony’s history and folklore; and takes part, occasionally at the cost of his pride, in such local rites of passage as the pigeon hunt, the wine harvest, and the distillation of Armagnac. When McAninch succeeds in these endeavors—and even more so when he doesn’t—he learns some unexpected things about his potential as a cook, and ultimately undergoes a fundamental rewiring in the way he thinks about food, wine, and life in general.
Above all, he comes away with a profound, keen understanding of this remarkable corner of France—and with a personal education in the indomitable joie de vivre of the Gascons, who, despite their immense appetites, enjoy the longest lifespan of any regional population in France. The locals he seeks out as mentors and teachers—a matronly home cook, an octogenarian chef, a genteel winemaker, a pedantic historian, an ex—rugby player, a Basque shepherd, a former undertaker, and various other bon vivants and gourmands—prove to be the living embodiment of the deeply held French belief that joyful eating and drinking is not a privilege but a right.
Beautifully illustrated with whimsical drawings and featuring a wonderful appendix of classic recipes, Duck Season is an irresistible invitation to embrace the pleasures of the table—guiltlessly and with gusto—and it joins such books as A Year in Provence and Under the Tuscan Sun in the canon of sensual, food-infused memoirs of European country life.
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Top customer reviews
If you dream of 'La France Profound' this is a must-buy book. A decade or more ago, I read and reviewed Jacqueline Friedrich's book on living in the Loire Valley. Her book was 'just out' at the time of our multi-week stay and it made our visit by introducing local wines, cheeses, charcuterie, places to stay and places to dine fine. David McAninch's book will do much the same for visitors to Gascony.
An earlier reviewer (of the almost three of us at that point) opined that she had come to an (undisclosed) passage that led her to give up the book in disgust. I am 50 percent through the e-book and have found so much already that merits close reading and provides wonderful enjoyment; especially for people who might love the duck and cassoulet culture, also found in Sarlat and the Dordogne. Gascony was the home of Cyrano de Bergerac, historically a Marechal de France, but best known to us through Victor Hugo's fictionalization of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Mc Aninch's work deserves careful attention and not the disparagement of the inattentive.
If you want to learn about the deep well of regional cuisine, this book will help you. If you are an armchair traveler, this book will entertain you. If you are able to dream about temporarily relocating with your younger children, this book will inspire you to grab on to an experience that will lay a foundation for the enrichment of their lives. These days, I am an older American who has lived in different and enriching cultural environments. I am still enjoying this 'fresh' look at things through younger eyes.