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A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France [Hardcover]

Georgeanne Brennan

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Book Description

March 15 2007
A Pig in Provence is Under the Tuscan Sun meets Anna K. Fisher: an evocative, personal culinary history from the James Beard Award-winning author of numerous books on cooking and gardening. In the late 1970s culinary expert Georgeanne Brennan, her husband and their baby daughter set out to realize a dream of a peaceful, rural life in the South of France, cooking and eating in the Provencal tradition. Each chapter in her appealing memoir is centred around a traditional Provencal food or meal. The narrative is sprinkled with local colour, informal recipes and historical and cultural perspectives on a region that has captivated travellers and gourmands for centuries.

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From Amazon

On those magnificent days on which your drives split the fairway down the middle and your wedge shots leave you putting for birdie, you think: "I wonder if I could do this for a living." After all, guys in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, guys no one heard of until recently, are making planeloads of money on the various golf tours (and buying private planes to take them from one big-money tournament to the next). A Good Walk Spoiled is a bit of a reality check. John Feinstein chronicles the struggles of the top golfers in the game, as well as those trying to get onto the PGA Tour. These are gifted players who've devoted their lives to the game, and on any given day they could just flat out stink. A Good Walk Spoiled is a completely engaging book from first page to last, a wonderfully observed and masterfully told story of pain and profit in the world's most frustrating sport. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Following the events of one year on the PGA tour, sportswriter Feinstein tells of the nerve-racking pressures and successess of professional golf.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read Dec 7 2007
By R. Amaro - Published on Amazon.com
This is a fantastic story about one woman's introduction to and exploration of life in Provence. The book takes you on a culinary journey through the region, with beautiful introductions to specialties of the area. Each chapter features a different major Provence food: truffles, goat cheese, garlic, etc and ends with a recipe that has been featured in the narrative. For those who want understand the relationship between the land, the food, and the people of Provence, this book is highly recommended.
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful culinary journey April 6 2007
By WireChairsMissing - Published on Amazon.com
What an interesting, informative, and lovely culinary memoir! Georgeanne Brennan was a true trailblazer by going off to Provence with her family in the early 70's, at the height of the Vietnam War. This wasn't mere escapism--it was an attempt to get back to the land and learn what culinary traditions are all about (since most of those traditions in the U.S. were getting lost in the post-WWII industrialization of food production). Reading about the seasonal celebrations and ceremonies that are embedded in Provencal history is truly fascinating through the eyes of an American. Add to that a classic recipe at the end of each chapter that pertains to what you've just read preceeding it, and you have the perfect summer travel lit read!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any fan of Provence or French culinary traditions will find this gentle story revealing and appealing Oct. 19 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
A PIG IN PROVENCE: GOOD FOOD AND SIMPLE PLEASURES IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE tells of a habitual France vacationer who decides to buy a small farmhouse deep in the backcountry. Thirty years later she tells the story of her life in Provence: a story that revolves around seasonal change, culinary specialties, and fun stories of the foodways and culture of the region. Any fan of Provence or French culinary traditions will find this gentle story revealing and appealing, and libraries catering to Francophiles will also find it a popular lend.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars truly enjoyable memoir Jan. 8 2008
By PAB - Published on Amazon.com
This is not only an immensely enjoyable memoir of provencal living which is so easy to read, it has a useful overview of subjects such as mushroom collecting with practical receipes at the end of each chapter. I have ALOT of books about americans living in France and this is one of my favorites to date.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Selected Quotes from the Book Feb. 27 2010
By P. H. Foley - Published on Amazon.com
Quotes from a charming book...
--that gifts the reader with a fascinating window...
...into the culture of southern France, their history, customs and food...

I explained it was a Roman name and that the Romans had come to Provence a long, long time ago.

The cooking and care given to food and its role in daily life stem from a not-yet-forgotten cultural understanding of the origin of the ingredients and an appreciation of what it takes to raise animals and crops and to hunt and to gather food, something I was just beginning to discover...

This was my first invitation into a family home kitchen since our arrival into Provence. it was not what I expected.
No authentic looking copper pans gleaming over a well used fireplace, no exposed wood ceiling beams, no soapstone or red tile sink, no terracotta pots filled with olives, no bright Provencal printed fabric,...

"It was a simple process -but mastering it had been difficult."

... a man in chef's whites came through the (restaurant) door... a woman stepped back and said: "Entez".
I entered and there before me was a Provencal kitchen. It had heavy wooden ceiling beams, with hanging copper pots and pans of various sizes. A fireplace was set in one wall, A long black spit... Terracotta gratin dishes... Provencal plates and platters of green and ocher... a long heavily scarred table nearly the length of the room. ...the other (table's) end held a brace of unplucked pheasants.

We followed him to the back of the house...
The pale green Formica table in the kitchen was set with a clear glass wine bottle filled with water; a bottle of patis; a bottle each of grenadine, menthe, and orgeatsyrup; and five small glasses. The kitchen was filled with the scent of tomatoes and sausage from the orange enamel casserole simmering on the stove...

The annual winter slaughter of pigs was staggered over six weeks... It was a time to extend and renew friendships. ... the tradition called for giving pieces or preparations to neighbors who were not invited to the festive midday meal... The gifts were distributed according to the social hierarchy, of which everyone was acutely aware.

In the old days before WWII five meals were served to the workers in the vineyards... starting at dawn with bread, olive oil, maybe jam and coffee.... followed by a morning bread and sausage... Then came a large lunch... late afternoon or early evening meal of bread... The day ended well after nightfall with a final meal of soup, vegetables and bread...

More than a seasonal gathering of wild edibles, la cueillette in Provence is a social and cultural ritual that is repeated annually, marking the food calender of urban as well as rural inhabitants. To participate in the la cueillette is to begin to understand that the food in Provence is inextricable linked to rural traditions that even the most die hard urbanites value as part of their cultural consciousness and gastronomic patrimony. This is one of the things I value most about life in Provence and one that seems never to change, no matter how many years pass.

Before the countryside was decimated by two world wars and a pandemic flu, dozens of farmhouses and tiny hamlets stretched across the mountains, all linked by footpaths, shared work and marriages.

When he was born he was given a traditional Provence baby carrying basket made of woven willow. She trimmed it in antique cotton lace, sewing through the upper edge of the willow, and had made bedding to match. The basket had two handholds threaded with wide bands of blue satin ribbon plus heavy white cord, for hanging in the olive trees, she explained, while the parents were working. Inside the basket was a quilted Provencal baby cape and cap.

He knew how to make cheeses, to cure meats, to slaughter and butcher, to raise animals of all kinds, to choose the best fish and shellfish, to make wine and vin maison and liqueurs, he knew where to find wild asparagus and mushrooms. He was fascinated by local ingredients and food and how to cook them...

The fond began with olive oil, and we added leaks, onion, garlic and tomatoes, (everything from their own garden) along with freshly gathered thyme, sauteing everything in a large kettle until the kitchen was filled with the fragrance of the earth.

Marseilles has been an important port ever since it was founded in the sixth century B.C.E. It is at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and through it at one time flowed all the foodstuffs and goods of the known world. Pilgrims set sail from here to the Holy Land... The flavor and taste of the cities' exotic history come together inbouillabaisse, the most famous dish.

We steeped ourselves in the tastes of Provence --olive oil, wild herbs, fish, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, grilled lamb and sausages, fresh cheese and fruits of every kind.

I, too, love interacting with vendors and being part of the daily life of another culture.

In the old days, the relais and small hotels where the diligences (stagecoaches) stopped were essentially self sufficient, growing and producing (all) the food not only for the passengers but for the animals as well...

Provencal (olive) oils are milder than those of Tuscany, for example, where the olives are picked when they are still partially green.

Best of all the kitchen has a generous, thigh-low window that opens on the terrace...

"As with so many simple things, it is not as easy as it sounds."

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