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French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork, and Corkscrew (2002)

by Peter Mayle

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1,2471512,688 (3.61)34
A joyous exploration and celebration of the infinite gastronomic pleasures of France. Ranging far from his adopted Provence, Peter Mayle now travels to every corner of the country, armed with knife, fork, and corkscrew. He takes us to tiny, out-of-the-way restaurants, three-star Michelin wonders, local village markets, annual festivals, and blessed vineyards. We visit the Foire aux Escargots at Matigny-les-Bains–a whole weekend devoted to the lowly but revered snail. We observe the Medoc Marathon, where runners refresh themselves enroute with tastings of red wine (including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild!). There is bouillabaisse in a beachside restaurant in St. Tropez. A search for the perfect chicken that takes us to a fair in Bourg-en-Bresse. There is even a Catholic mass in the village of Richerenches, a sacred event at which thanks is given for the aromatic, mysterious, and breathtakingly expensive black truffle. We learn which is the most pungent cheese in France (it’s in Normandy), witness a debate on the secret of the perfect omelet, and pick up a few luscious recipes along the way. All the glory and pleasure on the French table in the most satisfying audiobook yet from thetoujoursdelightfully entertaining Peter Mayle.… (more)
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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I could never just travel around without a plan like he does. But it mostly works for him. There might have been a time or two when he showed up at the wrong place looking for something that wasn't there...but it all works out in the end. ( )
  Scaulkins | Jan 27, 2022 |
An exploration of France's celebration and veneration of food items many think odd; such as snails, frog's legs and blood sausages. Mayle spends a year traveling to the various celebrations throughout France which feature one special ingredient. Rather than any grand analysis, this seems a really good excuse to travel and eat delicious things. His humor is fun, poking fun at himself and others and humanity at large, but not darkened by heavy sarcasm or ridicule.

I very much enjoyed this, probably as close as I will ever get to enjoying road trips in France. ( )
  MrsLee | Dec 6, 2020 |
I picked this up as a way of traveling while stuck at home. It worked for that, but I was left wanting more. This was the sort of travel writing that makes me think about the place, not the kind that makes me feel like I'm there (or want to be there). That said, I do plan to read more by this author and I look forward to it. ( )
  duchessjlh | May 23, 2020 |
A fun read, with delightful little stories about visiting wine and cheese festivals throughout France. I enjoyed learning about some of the wines of the country. ( )
  Brauer11431 | Apr 16, 2019 |
2.5 stars

The author writes about food and wine in France.

I think I received this via a “white elephant swap” a while back. I’m not a foodie, and I’m sure someone who appreciates food, particularly French food, would get much more out of this. I found most of the food he discussed quite disgusting. I also don’t drink alcohol, including wine, though I think there was only one chapter on wine (maybe two?). At the same time, he actually is an engaging writer. And there were a couple chapters near the end that didn’t talk about food that I found more interesting – one was about food critics and travel guide ratings, and one was an entertaining chapter as the author and his wife stayed at a spa for a few days. ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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The early part of my life was spent in the gastronomic wilderness of postwar England, when delicacies of the table were in extremely short supply.
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A joyous exploration and celebration of the infinite gastronomic pleasures of France. Ranging far from his adopted Provence, Peter Mayle now travels to every corner of the country, armed with knife, fork, and corkscrew. He takes us to tiny, out-of-the-way restaurants, three-star Michelin wonders, local village markets, annual festivals, and blessed vineyards. We visit the Foire aux Escargots at Matigny-les-Bains–a whole weekend devoted to the lowly but revered snail. We observe the Medoc Marathon, where runners refresh themselves enroute with tastings of red wine (including Chateau Lafite-Rothschild!). There is bouillabaisse in a beachside restaurant in St. Tropez. A search for the perfect chicken that takes us to a fair in Bourg-en-Bresse. There is even a Catholic mass in the village of Richerenches, a sacred event at which thanks is given for the aromatic, mysterious, and breathtakingly expensive black truffle. We learn which is the most pungent cheese in France (it’s in Normandy), witness a debate on the secret of the perfect omelet, and pick up a few luscious recipes along the way. All the glory and pleasure on the French table in the most satisfying audiobook yet from thetoujoursdelightfully entertaining Peter Mayle.

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