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French Lessons by Peter Mayle

February 3rd, 2005 · No Comments

Through a Christmas letter sent by the Fedor family (including Katherine), listing everyone’s favorite books of the year, I discovered French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew by Peter Mayle. This read is a foodie’s dream and anyone’s delight. Traveling around France sampling culinary adventures from frogs to snails to chickens to truffles to wine to spas – what could be more fun?! I learned a lot about food, about frogs, about France and about human nature.

A few favorite quotes:

…I was going to attend the annual messe des truffes in Richerenches, a village northeast of Orange. Thsi was to be a sacred event, under the patronage of Saint Antoine, at which thanks would be given for the aromatic, mysterious and breathtakingly expensive black truffle. What’s more, such are the blessings that reward the devout, there would be lunch after the service. A lunch that included truffles. page 24

Greeks and Romans are often given the credit for making gastronomic discoveries, but perhaps this time it was a prehistoric entrepreneur from farther east. Maybe that was it: the early, tentative stirrings of the Chinese Connection. An honorable ancestor of Mr. Chan or Mr. Wu, having sampled his firt juicy dozen somwehre in the snail-rich fields of coastal China and finding them delicious, might have sensed an export opportunity: Escargots de Shanghai…Alas, we shall never know. page 124

(from time in a French Spa)
But here, my daily responsibilities were limited to turning up on time at the thermal farm and raising an eager knife and fork twice a day in the restaurant. I was doing absolutely nothing and enjoying it, something that had never happened to me before. p 200

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