Is it a book about travel? Is it a book about cooking? Yes, on both counts. James Haller's "Vie de France" tells of his experiences living in a rented house in a village in the Loire valley for a month with a group of friends. Like any good travel book, it leaves the reader with a strong impression of the countryside and the people, the culture and the atmosphere - with memories, as if you had spent that month there yourself. Better yet, the impression is of laughter, or at least smiles, and not tears. It also leaves you with memories of food prepared with care, even with love. Not classic French cooking, but Haller's personal style of cooking creatively yet simply. There is also the sense of adventure that comes from visiting a new place, with a foreign language, new towns and roads, restaurants that run on an offbeat schedule, and supermarkets that have a fascinating combination of the familiar and the strange. To emphasize the point that cooking is a major theme, the book has a table of menus, not a table of contents. Certainly a book about the joy of cooking, of travel, of friends, and of life.