A Year in Provence

A Year in Provence

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National Bestseller 

In this witty and warm-hearted account, Peter Mayle tells what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and actually move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs. He endures January’s frosty mistral as it comes howling down the Rhône Valley, discovers the secrets of goat racing through the middle of town, and delights in the glorious regional cuisine. A Year in Provence transports us into all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life and lets us live vicariously at a tempo governed by seasons, not by days.

Who hasn’t dreamed, on a mundane Monday or frowzy Friday, of chucking it all in and packing off to the south of France? Provençal cookbooks and guidebooks entice with provocatively fresh salads and azure skies, but is it really all Côtes-du-Rhône and fleur-de-lis? Author Peter Mayle answers that question with wit, warmth, and wicked candor in A Year in Provence, the chronicle of his own foray into Provençal domesticity.

Beginning, appropriately enough, on New Year’s Day with a divine luncheon in a quaint restaurant, Mayle sets the scene and pits his British sensibilities against it. “We had talked about it during the long gray winters and the damp green summers,” he writes, “looked with an addict’s longing at photographs of village markets and vineyards, dreamed of being woken up by the sun slanting through the bedroom window.” He describes in loving detail the charming, 200-year-old farmhouse at the base of the Lubéron Mountains, its thick stone walls and well-tended vines, its wine cave and wells, its shade trees and swimming pool–its lack of central heating. Indeed, not 10 pages into the book, reality comes crashing into conflict with the idyll when the Mistral, that frigid wind that ravages the Rhône valley in winter, cracks the pipes, rips tiles from the roof, and tears a window from its hinges. And that’s just January.

In prose that skips along lightly, Mayle records the highlights of each month, from the aberration of snow in February and the algae-filled swimming pool of March through the tourist invasions and unpredictable renovations of the summer months to a quiet Christmas alone. Throughout the book, he paints colorful portraits of his neighbors, the Provençaux grocers and butchers and farmers who amuse, confuse, and befuddle him at every turn. A Year in Provence is part memoir, part homeowner’s manual, part travelogue, and all charming fun. –L.A. Smith

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Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

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Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that’s “irresistible….A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef” (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture. Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves’ livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto. The film is written and directed by Nora Ephron and stars Amy Adams as Julie and Meryl Streep as Julia.Julie & Julia is the story of Julie Powell’s attempt to revitalize her marriage, restore her ambition, and save her soul by cooking all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I, in a period of 365 days. The result is a masterful medley of Bridget Jones’ Diary meets Like Water for Chocolate, mixed with a healthy dose of original wit, warmth, and inspiration that sets this memoir apart from most tales of personal redemption.

When we first meet Julie, she’s a frustrated temp-to-perm secretary who slaves away at a thankless job, only to return to an equally demoralizing apartment in the outer boroughs of Manhattan each evening. At the urging of Eric, her devoted and slightly geeky husband, she decides to start a blog that will chronicle what she dubs the “Julie/Julia Project.” What follows is a year of butter-drenched meals that will both necessitate the wearing of an unbearably uncomfortable girdle on the hottest night of the year, as well as the realization that life is what you make of it and joy is not as impossible a quest as it may seem, even when it’s -10 degrees out and your pipes are frozen.

Powell is a natural when it comes to connecting with her readers, which is probably why her blog generated so much buzz, both from readers and media alike. And while her self-deprecating sense of humor can sometimes dissolve into whininess, she never really loses her edge, or her sense of purpose. Even on day 365, she’s working her way through Mayonnaise Collee and ending the evening “back exactly where we started–just Eric and me, three cats and Buffy…sitting on a couch in the outer boroughs, eating, with Julia chortling alongside us….”

Inspired and encouraging, Julie and Julia is a unique opportunity to join one woman’s attempt to change her life, and have a laugh, or ten, along the way. –Gisele Toueg

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The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine: How I Spent a Year in the American Wild to Re-create a Feast from the Classic Recipes of French Master Chef Auguste Escoffier

The Scavenger's Guide to Haute Cuisine: How I Spent a Year in the American Wild to Re-create a Feast from the Classic Recipes of French Master Chef Auguste Escoffier

When outdoorsman, avid hunter, and nature writer Steven Rinella stumbles upon Auguste Escoffier’s 1903 milestone Le Guide Culinaire, he’s inspired to assemble an unusual feast: a forty-five-course meal born entirely of Escoffier’s esoteric wild game recipes. Over the course of one unforgettable year, he steadily procures his ingredients—fishing for stingrays in Florida, hunting mountain goats in Alaska, flying to Michigan to obtain a fifteen-pound snapping turtle—and encountering one colorful character after another. And as he introduces his vegetarian girlfriend to a huntsman’s lifestyle, Rinella must also come to terms with the loss of his lifelong mentor—his father. An absorbing account of one man’s relationship with family, friends, food, and the natural world, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine is a rollicking tale of the American wild and its spoils.
 
Praise for The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine
 
“If Jack Kerouac had hung out with Julia Child instead of Neal Cassady, this book might have been written fifty years ago. . . . Steven Rinella brings bohemian flair and flashes of poetic sensibility to his picaresque tale of a man, a cookbook, and the culinary open road.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“If you rue the ‘depersonalization of food production,’ or you’re tired of chemical ingredients, [Rinella] will make you howl.”Los Angeles Times
 
“A walk on the wild side of hunting and gathering, sure to repel a few professional food sissies but attract many more with its sheer in-your-face energy and fine storytelling.”—Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall
 
“[A] warped, wonderful memoir of cooking and eating . . . [Rinella] recounts these madcap wilderness adventures with delicious verve and charm.”Men’s Journal

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A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse

A Kitchen in France: A Year of Cooking in My Farmhouse

With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports readers to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.
 
When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

Featured Recipes from A Kitchen in France

Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets
Download the recipe for C&egravepe and Parsley Tartlets

Pumpkin Soup
Download the recipe for Pumpkin Soup

Vegetable Tian
Download the recipe for Vegetable Tian

With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports readers to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.
 
When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

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French Country Living: A Year in Gascony

French Country Living: A Year in Gascony

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Part journal, part practical guide, this book documents the lifestyles of two French country households. In a practical section which is organized month-by-month, the authors offer recipes, from duck pate and onion tart to English muffins, and seasonal regimens for housekeeping and the garden.

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The Cook and the Gardener : A Year of Recipes and Writings for the French Countryside

The Cook and the Gardener : A Year of Recipes and Writings for the French Countryside

The unique, award-winning cookbook―a collection of seasonal recipes from a traditional French garden.

Winner of the Best Book on France by a Non-French Writer Award at the Versailles Cookbook Fair; finalist for the Julia Child Award, the Gourmet Magazine Award, and “Best Cookbook of the Year” sponsored by IACP; and nominated in the international category of the KitchenAid Book Awards of the James Beard Foundation Awards.

A unique blend of stylish cookbook and earthy garden story, here is a collection of 250 recipes derived from a centuries-old French kitchen garden. The stunning debut of a lively new culinary voice, The Cook and the Gardener chronicles a year in the life of the walled kitchen garden at Chateau du Fey and its taciturn, resourceful, charmingly sly peasant caretaker. Using the fruits and vegetables harvested from Monsieur Milbert’s garden, Amanda Hesser creates four seasons of recipes tied ineluctably to the land and the all-but-forgotten practices upheld by Milbert. Hesser’s sublimely simple recipes―each with accessible ingredients and clear notes and instructions―also tell a story. They are a month-by-month record of the ingredients available to her, so that this cookbook also serves as an almanac for cooks. Special “Basics” sections at the opening of each season lay the culinary groundwork for the recipes that follow. Tips on how to buy, store, and prepare particular vegetables, fruits, and herbs are presented in margin notes to recipes. By bringing the kitchen closer to the garden, The Cook and the Gardener gives home cooks a new understanding of the produce they have on hand, whether from the supermarket, the farmer’s market, or their own gardens. At the same time, it captures the quirky customs and wily wisdom of a vanishing way of life in provincial France.The Cook and the Gardener is Amanda Hesser’s first book. From the opening lines of its introduction, her literary gifts are as evident as her passion for good food. Since this work combines recipes with her essays about Monsieur Milbert (the gardener at the Chateau du Fey in Burgundy, where Hesser worked as the cook), readers get to enjoy both of her talents.

Hesser worked hard to get M. Milbert to talk with her. She shares the careful, deliberate way she wooed him, sometimes by bringing freshly baked bread to his less mobile wife, sometimes by holding back questions she wanted to ask, just to win his tolerance of her presence. Crusty, surly, and tradition-bound, he is the quintessential French peasant. Fortunately, Hesser–who is respectful and patient even when M. Milbert’s stubborn ways exasperated her–knows he is an almost-vanished breed. None of his children, or anyone else, is likely to work as he has, continuing to live mainly off the land for nearly 60 years.

Each chapter covers a month, starting with March, when the nearly 400-year-old walled garden comes to life. Hesser talks about the garden, how she used the bounty gathered by M. Milbert, and muses on life in and around Burgundy. In September, “the rains seemed to clean off and illuminate the plants’ colors … everything seemed to wake up, as after a hot, cranky nap.” The final tomatoes are harvested, as are the green and butter beans, with Milbert sneakily keeping the best for himself. Hesser visits a neighbor’s Portuguese-style garden, as exuberant and vivid as Milbert’s is restrained and disciplined. She cooks sautéed red snapper with tomatoes, fennel, and vermouth; makes a profound Tomato Consommé; and slow roasts tomatoes into meltingly tender mounds.

Sepia drawings by Kate Gridley add to the low-key charm of this information-packed work. (It even includes a history of purslane going back to the Middle Ages.)

The knowledge and maturity of this work belie Hesser’s youth. Not yet 30 at the time of writing, she’s a wise cook worth following. –Dana Jacobi

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Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris

Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris

The memoir of a young diplomat’s wife who must reinvent her dream of living in Paris—one dish at a time

When journalist Ann Mah’s diplomat husband is given a three-year assignment in Paris, Ann is overjoyed. A lifelong foodie and Francophile, she immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post—alone. Suddenly, Ann’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down.

So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Ann must find a life for herself in a new city.  Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Ann combats her loneliness by seeking out the perfect pain au chocolat and learning the way the andouillette sausage is really made. She explores the history and taste of everything from boeuf Bourguignon to soupe au pistou to the crispiest of buckwheat crepes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.

Like Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French and Julie Powell’s New York Times bestseller Julie and Julia, Mastering the Art of French Eating is interwoven with the lively characters Ann meets and the traditional recipes she samples. Both funny and intelligent, this is a story about love—of food, family, and France.

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Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany

Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior's Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany

After a lifetime in southern California and three years in Boston, the author at age 69 retires from the practice of law and moves to Paris to eat, walk and write. He describes in vivid detail the challenges of learning French; dealing with the French bureaucracies, public and private; facing the charm and smugness of the Parisians; as well as the joys of experiencing the cuisine, neighborhoods, art and history of the world’s most beautiful, vibrant city. After nearly a year he travels to rural northern Tuscany and revels in its scenic beautify, food and serenity until a shocking experience send him home to California.

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Kitchen Rhythm: A Year in a Parisian Pâtisserie

Kitchen Rhythm: A Year in a Parisian Pâtisserie

Kitchen Rhythm: A Year in a Parisian Pâtisserie

At 5.37 a.m. my alarm goes off for the first time. By 6.09 a.m. I will be waiting on the metro platform. By 6.27 a.m. I pull open the swing door and duck under the pink curtain of the pâtisserie. I am probably last. In our tiny bakery on the other side of Paris, our cakes are made in the early morning, to preserve that freshness and crunch.

Following in the footsteps of Rachel Khoo, Frances Leech has been lured to the city of love by puff pastry. For the past year she has worked in a small little French-Japanese pâtisserie where margins are small and the pressure is on. On any given day this small bakery uses 100 passionfruit and coconut mousses, 18 kg of chestnut and rum paste for Mont-Blanc tarts alone.

Frances trains alongside her Japanese colleagues perfecting meringues, passionfruit mousse, millefeuille and sticky caramel as well as a working knowledge of idiomatic Japanese. She feels incompetent, clumsy, tall and gets burned a lot. But her colleagues are patient and kind and she learns to love the art of pastry, despite the early mornings.

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French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & Pleasure

French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & Pleasure

French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, & Pleasure

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From the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat, the #1 National Bestseller, comes an essential guide to the art of joyful living—in moderation, in season, and, above all, with pleasure.

 

Together with a bounty of new dining ideas and menus, Mireille Guiliano offers us fresh, cunning tips on style, grooming, and entertaining. Here are four seasons’ worth of strategies for shopping, cooking, and exercising, as well as some pointers for looking effortlessly chic. Taking us from her childhood in Alsace-Lorraine to her summers in Provence and her busy life in New York and Paris, this wise and witty book shows how anyone anywhere can develop a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

Mireille Guiliano, author of the immensely popular French Women Don’t Get Fat returns with another book revealing secrets to living the good life. Branching off of her first book that dispelled the notion that you have to avoid everything wonderful in order to lose weight, with French Women for All Seasons, Guiliano suggests that the trick to living life to the fullest is to stay attuned to the “rhythms of the year” (that, and remembering that moderation is the key). Her new book offers new ideas for seasonal entertaining, shopping, cooking, and exercising. Want to know more? Watch our exclusive video message from Guiliano below. Want to know more about yourself? Take our “How French Are You?” quiz and discover your inner Frenchwoman. –Daphne Durham

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  • The Mireille Guiliano Quiz: How French Are You?

    In French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano laid out a general program for reaching the weight at which you can feel bien dans ta peau (comfortable in your own skin). Now, in French Women for All Seasons, she teaches you peu à peu (little by little), how to make over your whole life for maximum pleasure. Here you will find, not only more specific advice on preparing for the bikini season (with dozens of new slimming tricks and delicious recipes), but also Mireille’s secrets to looking and feeling great throughout each season of the year. But before learning to become a French woman for all seasons, take this short quiz to find out how much of one you already are. Your inner French Woman–we all have one!–may already be more developed than you suspect! Find out now how close your daily habits are to bringing you optimum pleasure.

    1. Your idea of the ultimate chocolate fix is?
    a. A chocolate Entenmann’s donut.
    b. A Hershey bar.
    c. Godiva truffles.
    d. One or two pieces of high-quality dark chocolate.

    2. How do you take your coffee?
    a. I don’t drink coffee.
    b. Can’t stand it without cream and three sugars.
    c. I add Equal and skim milk for low-cal pleasure.
    d. A small cup of freshly brewed coffee needs no lightening or sweetening.

    3. What should the salespeople at the mall know about you?
    a. I don’t wear prêt à porter!
    b. I’m a sucker for the latest trends for the season–I love being in fashion.
    c. I’ll buy an amazing pair of shoes before I pay my rent.
    d. I find a few items to accompany the best pieces in my closet–I just want to refresh my wardrobe.

    4. You’re throwing a party in a couple of weeks. What’s your plan of action?
    a. I obsess about the menu, wonder how I’ll ever find the time even to plan, and when the big day comes I spend the entire time in the kitchen while my guests (usually) drink too much.
    b. I call a caterer, of course. What do I know about such things, and why should I care?
    c. I set out a bag of chips and a bag of pretzels and ask everyone to bring a bottle.
    d. I choose a few favorite food items to serve, some store-bought delicacies, some easy to prepare but impressive treats, add some personal serving touches, sit back and relax while the guests ooh and ahh.

    5. Which of the following drinks will you serve at the party?
    a. Whatever the guests bring.
    b. Margaritas (Frozen–is there another kind?).
    c. Wine, vodka, beer… hospitality is variety.
    d. A thoughtfully chosen wine and mineral water—keep it simple and always give guests water with their alcohol.

    6. You’ve just gone to the market and found wonderful fresh basil, but you got so excited about it that you bought too much. What do you do?
    a. What would I be doing at the market? What’s basil again?
    b. I chop some in my pasta, but eventually have to throw the rest away.
    c. I have a pesto pack-down that night!
    d. I try to invent a new dish for using it while it’s fresh (substituting it for another herb I might otherwise use); the rest I make into pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays (one cube is perfect for a single pasta serving).

    7. Au restaurant, you’re most likely to order:
    a. A cheeseburger with fries.
    b. A large salad with ranch dressing.
    c. Vegetable lasagna.
    d. Grilled hangar steak with wine sauce.

    8. When the waiter comes to your table to take your drink order, you:
    a. Order up Grey Goose.
    b. Let someone else advise–wine lists are intimidating.
    c. Remember the rule that white goes with fish and red goes with meat.
    d. Choose Champagne–it goes with just about anything.

    9. How much wine do you typically drink with dinner?
    a. None–alcohol is fattening.
    b. Keep ’em coming–I’ve read wine is heart smart!
    c. A few glasses–I know my limits.
    d. Usually one, but if I want more, I’ll have another half glass.

    10. You’re traveling and a sumptuous breakfast buffet is included in the cost of your hotel room. What do you do?
    a. I load up on eggs, bacon, muffins, and pancakes, but make sure to hit hotel gym later.
    b. I load up on eggs, bacon, muffins, and pancakes to get me through the day–it’s free, and I don’t eat that way at home, so what’s the harm?
    c. I can’t be trusted around any all-you-can-eat spread; I skip breakfast.
    d. I choose one day to indulge at the buffet (compensating with lighter lunch and dinner), but order room service for the rest of my trip to avoid overdoing it.

    11. What is your ideal workout?
    a. Does channel surfing count?
    b. An hour at the gym, wailing on the Cybex.
    c. I eat healthfully so I can spend less time exercising.
    d. I walk everywhere, and enjoy some Yoga a couple of times a week.

    12. Mireille Guiliano says in French Women Don’t Get Fat that her “secret weapon” is plain yogurt. If you want to sweeten it, what do you add?
    a. Sweet ‘n Low or Equal.
    b. Sugar.
    c. Spoonful of maple syrup or honey.
    d. Fresh fruit.

    13. You have an after-hours party to attend for work. Pick an outfit that will take you most elegantly from day to night.
    a. A short suit skirt with a tank top and a jacket that you’ll be able to take off later–if you’ve got it, flaunt it!
    b. Designer jeans with a top you saw in Vogue.
    c. Your trusty black dress, but you’ll dress it up with trendy baubles for evening.
    d. A trimly cut dress paired with simple jewelry or a scarf.

    14. In the fall, you eat:
    a. Strawberries.
    b. Asparagus.
    c. Peaches.
    d. Apples.

    15. Le dessert is served! You choose to have:
    a. A big piece of cake–you only live once.
    b. A small slice (or two) of apple tart–an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
    c. A piece of pie or cake, but you’ll share it with a friend.
    d. Nothing overly sweet–instead you go for a piece of seasonal fruit or cheese.

    Results:
    Allow 1 point for “a” answers, 2 points for “b” answers, 3 points for “c” answers, and 4 points for “d” answers. Add up your total points and find out how French you are based on the scale below.

    Not Very French At All (15-25 points)
    You are a true American woman. You’re busy and don’t always have time to entertain or cook. Your treats are sweet or salty. But Mireille says in French Women for All Seasons, “When foods are bursting with natural taste–as opposed to being artificially flavored, laden with fat and salt, or just plain tasteless–the experience of eating them is more satisfying, and we can content ourselves with less.” Start reading to find out how you can change your approach to eating, and how all of Mireille’s secrets about fashion, entertaining, wine–and more–can change your life.

    Potentially French (26-36 points)
    You’re already aware of your indulgences, and realize you have great potential for improvement. You just need a little coaching on how to maximize style, taste and pleasure without sacrificing your waistline or sanity. “The key,” Mireille says in French Women for All Seasons “is to cultivate your own intuition of your offenders and pleasures and adjust each accordingly by degrees that suit you.” Start reading to find out how you can change not only your relationship with food, but how Mireille’s secrets about fashion, entertaining, wine–and more–can change your life.

    You’re Almost French! (37-47 points)
    You value quality over quantity. But we’ve all been known to stress out about a party or get weak in the knees in front of a chocolate donut. In French Women for All Seasons, Mireille says, “French women don’t get fat because they know the secret of pleasure. But the secret to pleasure is cultivation: a life of ongoing exploration, experimentation, practiced enjoyment, and–most important–self discovery.” Check out French Women for All Seasons for tips about how to entertain and dress, new recipes, and most importantly, how to remain bien dans sa peau.

    Une Vraie Française (48-60 points)
    You may have already read French Women Don’t Get Fat and taken it to heart or you simply have an inner French woman. Either way, you’ve unlocked the secret of pleasure–it’s the most important part of life. But again as Mireille says in French Women for All Seasons, “the secret to pleasure is cultivation: a life of ongoing exploration, experimentation, practiced enjoyment, and–most important–self discovery.” Read the book to find out how to keep this process going throughout the winter, spring, summer, and fall.


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