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Patricia Wells at Home in Provence


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About the Author

Patricia Wells is the author of five bestselling books The Food Lover's Guide to Paris, The Food Lover's Guide to France, Bistro Cooking, Simply French, and Patricia Wells' Trattoria. She and her husband divide their time between Paris and Provence, where she conducts cooking classes. She is the restaurant critic of the International Herald Tribune


Wells, author of the well-known Food Lover's Guide to Paris (Workman, 1993. rev. ed.) and Simply French (LJ 9/15/91), among other titles, presents recipes for the dishes she cooks at home when she's not hot on the trail of the best food France has to offer. Like Lydie Marshall (Chez Nous: Home Cooking from the South of France, LJ 3/15/95), Wells has ingredients at hand any cook would envy, from olives, perfect fruit and even truffles on her own land to the fresh cheeses and Mediterranean fish offered by local merchants. With its dozens of full-color photographs, Wells's book is a more lavish affair than Marshall's, and her recipes are often richer and more elaborate as well: Artichoke, Parmesan, and Black Truffle Soup; Minted Crabmeat Salad; and Herb-Cured Fillet of Beef Carpaccio, accompanied by detailed wine suggestions (which may often be out of reach of those who do not have a farm in Provence). In any case, not to be missed. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/91.]

Patricia Wells. Scribner, $40 (352p) ISBN 0-684-81569-9 Relaxed and unfailingly enticing, this superb collection of 175 recipes will make readers feel as comfortable in their kitchens as its accomplished author is at Chanteduc, her 18th-century farmhouse in northern Provence. Wells (Bistro Cooking; Simply French) is not the first to underscore the appeal of simple, fresh food, but she coaxes new tiers of flavor from many of the dishes here by her creative arrangements of basic ingredients. Instead of the standard cherry clafoutis, for example, she offers Tomato Clafoutis as appetizer or Chanteduc Clafoutis, made with mixed fruits, for dessert. Herb-Cured Filet of Beef Carpaccio, in which the filet, wrapped for two days in tarragon, parsley, basil, thyme and salt, attains a savory goodness with surprising ease. The True Salad Fan's Salad, composed of finely chopped tops of very young root vegetables (carrot, radish, beet, celery, etc.) with vinaigrette, and Garlic Family Soup (with leeks, onions, shallots and a head of garlic) fairly vibrate with an abundance of flavor. Catalan Tuna Daube marries anchovies, capers, onion, lemon zest, tomatoes and cubes of tuna steak in a memorable union. La Broufade is another outstanding daube, but with beef simmered in white wine instead of the usual red. Wells is sensible in her use of oils and fats, calling, for example, for whole milk and cream in judicious amounts. The diner's delight flows from the wisely prepared ingredients; the cook gets the added pleasure of reading Wells's warm, intelligent prose‘and serving up excellence. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)

Patty LaNoue Stearns Detroit Free Press The photos alone will transport you, but the recipes will make you sign up for her cooking school in France.
Gillian Duffy New York magazine ...promises to produce yet another generation of home-schooled experts in pistous and daubes.
Florence Fabricant The New York Times There is hardly a recipe in this cookbook that does not insist on being tried and served to family and friends.

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