Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Books: A Pig in Provence

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

In the early 70’s when many young people were tuning in, turning on, and dropping out, Georgeanne Brennan, her husband and young daughter left California and moved to Provence.  There, they intended to support themselves by making and selling goat cheese.  A Pig in Provence is a memoir of that time.  The modern world had not yet intruded on Provence  and their people still lived close to the earth; wild mushrooms were gathered in the fall, asparagus in spring,  melons and peaches in summer, roots and truffles in winter.  The author writes of various aspects of Provencal culture such as the making goat cheese, buying a pig, the correct way to make and eat bouillabaisse according to Marseille tradition, the age-old process of butchering a lamb, and foraging for wild mushrooms and truffles.  Ms. Brennan is an award-winning cookbook author (as she herself will tell you in Chapter One) and there are recipes at the end of each chapter.   Readers who enjoy memoirs will want to read this book.  My only criticism is that although the author does a fine job of describing Provencal food and culture, her descriptions of the local people she encountered or was befriended by are not well-drawn, and I think that makes this memoir a little less satisfying than similar memoirs written by Frances Mayes or Peter Mayle.