Next Stop France

Although I’ve been absent from my blog for a while, food and language remain on my mind. Our next séjour will be in France. Really an exploratory trip to test the waters for an 18 month immersion experience starting next year. To that end I’ve been brushing up on my French. I added TV5 to our cable line-up and started a French vocabulary data base in ANKI.

Don has started Pimsleur French I. Each lesson is just 30 minutes of conversational drills that gets you learning and speaking the target language more effectively than any other program on the market. With lines like “Let’s get something to drink” and “Let’s go to my place” it’s especially useful for making new “friends”. Not sure that makes it the best program to give to your husband.

And the Food

I will be focusing on Provençal cooking. Because one, the Mediterranean diet is a much healthier alternative to the cream and butter based dishes of Northern France, and two, who doesn’t love the cuisine of Southern France with olives, garlic, tomatoes, artichokes, peppers in  such dishes as bouillabaisse, cassoulet and ratatouille? Yum! Is it lunch time yet?


I’m starting with three Provençal cookbooks.

The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells, an American journalist and restaurant critic who has been living in France since 1980. The book includes a broad range of intriguing recipes as well as tidbits covering local culture, food products, wine and restaurants.

Cooking School Provence, Shop, cook, and eat like a local by Gui Gedda, a chef and teacher of Provençal cooking as well as a native of Provence, and Marie-Pierre Moine, a British food writer. In addition to an extensive selection of recipes the book includes sections on selecting and preparing local ingredients.

Provençal Cooking, Savoring the simple life in France by Mary Ann Caws. This poetic little book is more of a memoir sprinkled with recipe suggestions. The author, a professor of French Literature, and her family have spent the last 30 years transforming their shell of a cottage into a home while discovering the beauty of a simple life in the French countryside.

Location in France

I’ve rented two places, one in Calvisson in the South just outside of Nîmes and the other in the village of Mont St. Jean in the Burgundy countryside.

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