Francophile Library – Autumn 2018 Edition

Andi Fisher inside Changing Hands Bookstore
Photo credit: Cactus Fox Photography

Unless you live in the desert as I do, the weather is shifting and with the chill in the air, it's the perfect time to snuggle up with a good book inside the house, or if you are in Phoenix like I am, you can still lounge by the pool with one! If you are a Francophile you'll be happy with this season's line-up which includes new cookbooks, culinary guides, epicurean history, watercolors, mystery, and romance. Even if you don't define yourself as a Francophile, you will really enjoy these selections!

In the French Kitchen with Kids

In the French Kitchen with Kids by Mardi Michels

I've read Mardi Michel's blog Eat. Live. Travel. Write. (all the good things in life!) for a very long time. It's hard for me to believe that In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy is only her first book! It just missed being in the summer francophile library list as it came out at the end of the July, but now that the kids are back in school and the weather is getting cooler, this is the perfect book for the family to prepare French meals together. I love the idea of teaching children about the world through books and food and Mardi's book is the perfect vehicle for that.

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From the publisher:

Mardi shows that French food doesn't have to be complicated. The result is an elegant, approachable cookbook featuring recipes tailored for young chefs and their families. From savory dishes like Omelettes, Croque-Monsieurs or Steak Frites to sweet treats like Profiteroles, Madeleines or Crème Brûlée, readers will find many French classics here. With helpful timetables to plan out baking projects, as well as tips on how to get kids involved in the cooking, this book breaks down any preconceived notion that French cuisine is too fancy or too difficult for kids to master. With Mardi's warm, empowering and encouraging instructions, kids of all ages will be begging to help out in the kitchen every day of the week.

Instantly French

Instantly French by Ann Mah
Cookbook imagery shot by Ashley Mclaughlin Photography

Ann Mah's books have appeared in many posts here, she is someone I am very fond of. I've enjoyed her culinary writing, her novels and now, I am pretty excited about Instantly French which takes advantage of the Instant Pot craze. Although I don't have an Instant Pot, it is possible to create these pressure cooker recipes without one. What I think is incredibly important is that you can create quite sophisticated and refined meals which is exactly what Ann has done with her latest book.

From the publisher:

The first electric pressure cooker book devoted specifically to French food, Instantly French! brings the scrumptious flavors of traditional French cuisine to your table—without the hours of slow cooking French food normally requires.

Eat Like a Local PARIS

Eat Like a Local PARIS with Lindsey Tramuta
Photo of Lindsey taken by Richelle Hunter Photography.

Any guide that my gal pal Lindsey Tramuta is involved in is something that I want on my shelf! With her own book, A New Paris she opened our eyes to the latest evolution of Paris, with Parisians – native and expats – that are recreating the food scene, the bar scene, shopping, etc. Lindsey lent her expertise into Eat Like a Local PARIS which is a travel guide that is focused on food. In my book, if something isn't focused on food, why bother?!

From the publisher:

This book is a food tour in your pocket, featuring more than 100 of the best restaurants, cafes, bars and markets recommended by a team of in-the-know Parisians. You'll also find insights into the city's idiosyncratic food culture, and a handful of iconic recipes to cook in the holiday kitchen or once you've returned home.

Paris à Table: 1846

Paris à Table 1846 by Eugène Briffault

Paris à Table: 1846 was written in 1846 by Eugène Briffault, BUT this is the first time it is available in English! I love reading historical fiction and when food plays a central I find it fascinating. Gastronomic dining in France was recognized as a ‘world intangible heritage’ by UNESCO in 2010 and I think after reading this book you will begin to understand why.

From the publisher:

Eugène Briffault, was well-known in his day as a theater critic and chronicler of contemporary Paris, but also as a bon-vivant, celebrated for his ability to quaff a bell jar full of champagne in a single draft and well-qualified to write authoritatively about the culinary culture of Paris. Focusing on the manners and customs of the dining scene, Briffault takes readers from the opulence of a meal at the Rothschilds' through every social stratum down to the student on the Left Bank and the laborer eating on the streets.

Killing It: An Education

Killing It: An Education by Camas Davis

I love this story! Mr. Misadventures and I often lament on the lost art of artisanal food preparation – like classic delis, cheesemongers and butchers. Camas Davis moved from New York to Portland for a man and a new job, but things didn't work out she went back to school – in the South of France. In Killing It, she shares of her time studying whole animal butchery and charcuterie and her return to Portland, a fascinating tale.

From the publisher:

Camas Davis was at an unhappy crossroads. A longtime magazine editor, she had left New York City to pursue a simpler life in her home state of Oregon, with the man she wanted to marry, and taken an appealing job at a Portland magazine. But neither job nor man delivered on her dreams, and in the span of a year, Camas was unemployed, on her own, with nothing to fall back on. So when a friend told her about Kate Hill, an American woman living in Gascony, France who ran a cooking school and took in strays in exchange for painting fences and making beds, it sounded like just what she needed. It's a story that takes her from an eye-opening stint in rural France where deep artisanal craft and whole-animal gastronomy thrive despite the rise of mass-scale agribusiness, back to a Portland in the throes of a food revolution, where Camas attempts–sometimes successfully, sometimes not–to translate much of this old-world craft and way of life into a new world setting.

Travels Through the French Riviera

Travels Through the French Riviera by Virginia Johnson

Let's call this Paris in Stride but for the south of France! The illustrations inside Travels Through the French Riviera: An Artist’s Guide to the Storied Coastline are fabulous! When it comes to France, my heart belongs to Paris and my preference is for the Northwestern regions, but French Riviera has such rich history – art, culture, and food, that I cannot resist having a copy of this book.

From the publisher:

In this irresistible marriage of watercolorist’s sketchbook and traveler’s guide, Virginia Johnson lovingly captures the magic of one of the world’s most storied regions, the French Riviera. Saturated with the limpid colors of sea and sun, the dazzling greens of verdant gardens, and the rose and ochre of sunbaked villas and joyous with paisleys and blue-striped sailor’s shirts and the riotous look of a patisserie window filled with confections…

The Lost Carousel of Provence

The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell

A mystery set in the south of France, The Lost Carousel of Provence is a fun read that checks all the boxes, French history, family drama, and charm. The detail in the characters and surroundings kept me interested until the very end! It is very similar in style to Discovery with the two timelines. Besides France, there is also a storyline in Oakland, which was like a visit to the old hood!

From the publisher:

When American photographer Cady Drake finds herself drawn to crumbling Château Clement and its antique carousel, she longs to explore the relic's shadowy origins beyond the small scope of her freelance assignment. As Cady digs deeper into the past, unearthing century-old photographs of the Clement carousel and its creators, she might be the one person who can bring the past to light and reunite a family torn apart.

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now

My Twenty-Five Years in Provence Reflections on Then and Now by Peter Mayle
Photo of Mr. Mayle was taken by his wife Jennie.

I have devoured every single one of Peter Mayle's books! All 14! My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now is the 15th, I haven't read it yet but I can't wait. A lot of my early understanding of French culture came from Mr. Mayle's memoirs. Witty exploits in the south of France. Later I enjoyed his novels. Makes me sad they are saying this is the final volume, I hope he continues to write!

From the publisher:

The beloved author Peter Mayle, champion of all things Provence, here in a final volume of all new writing, offers vivid recollections from his twenty-five years in the South of France–lessons learned, culinary delights enjoyed, and changes observed.

You Me Everything

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac

A romance novel that pulls at the heartstrings because of family drama, You Me Everything which takes place in an area of France that I spent a little bit of time in (Dordogne). It's a heartbreaker (with a happy ending) that takes place in the French countryside and I enjoyed it immensely.

From the publisher:

Set in the French countryside on an idyllic summer vacation, a delicious, tender novel about finding joy and love even in the most unexpected places. Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend—and William’s father—Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Lush gardens, a gorgeous pool, delectable French food, and a seemingly never-ending wine list—what’s not to like? Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam fall in love with his own son.

Maison – Parisian Chic at Home

Maison - Parisian chic at home by Inès de la Fressange

I think just about every francophile admires fashion icon Inès de la Fressange and her must-have manual, no bible(!) on French life, Parisian Chic. Now she turns her attention to the home in Maison. Who better to instruct you on having a chic home than the madam of chic herself?! Plus in the book, you get to peek inside 15 Parisian apartments including the authors! For me, there's no better place to be a peeping tom than Paris!

From the publisher:

Style icon Inès de la Fressange and globe-trotting artist Marin Montagut share a uniquely Parisian sensibility for interiors that combine a variety of design traditions into a harmonious living space. With extensive photographs, watercolor illustrations, mood boards, color palettes, and practical advice on the indispensable objects that personalize each maison, this exquisite volume is rich in inspiration for creating Parisian chic at home.

Another season of wonderful reading material. Makes sure you read the titles in the spring and summer versions as well and see you for the winter!

How about you? Do you have any books to add to this list? Do share?

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  1. I sadly do not read enough anymore. My kids and I love books though, and as we get settled in I cannot wait to get the bookshelf up and have our books around. I’ll have to peek at a few of your options here.

  2. I love books about cooking (not cookbook)! You can learn so much more by learning about the person behind the recipes.

  3. This is really an interesting mix of reading material. I would love to read it all but I am not that disciplined. I think I might start with the romance novel and work my way up.

  4. interesting! i need to start reading more, I just picked up some new books a few weeks ago and still haven’t picked them up. I would love to read books about eating/food. YES PLEASE.

  5. Food books are great. I do love my cook books as well, but a great story also helps

  6. I would love to do some French recipes in my pressure cooker, I’ll have to check that one out!

  7. These would be really helpful for a tourist visiting France! Especially the “Eat like a Tourist.” I want to eat around Frace- yummm!

  8. This is an amazing collection. I’ve just started to read again (lost habit) and these are great to add to my list.

  9. Reading is definitely a favorite pastime of mine. It didn’t used to be until I was kind to myself and allowed myself the mental space to read. A clear head and a great book is a perfect mix!