Coquilles, Calva, and Crème
Exploring France's Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair with French Food
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A celebration and critique of the French culinary landscape, with a gastronomical excursion across the French countryside in search of the unsung cooks who are still doing it right This culinary memoir brings to life some of the most fascinating, glamorous food years in France and reveals gastronomical treasures from gifted artisans of the French countryside. Dryansky’s stories are the stuff of legend—evenings with Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, historic wine auctions and memorable banquets—but Coquilles, Calva, and Crème is more than memories. These same memories prompt a journey across modern-day France, through kitchens, farms, and vineyards, offering a savory experience that can be duplicated by the reader afterward with numerous recipes, most of which have never before been recorded. In the world of today’s professional cooking, publicity-chasing and performance has overshadowed the importance of dining and the food itself. Too often the modern restaurant is a mixture of bizarre novelty and paradoxical clichés. Truly great dining happens when you’re fully engaged in the moment, acknowledging the range of associations that emerge, as Proust wrote, from sensory experiences. From small cafés in Paris to Normandy, Alsace, the Basque country, and beyond, Dryansky takes us on a sweeping sensory journey, with a voice as thoughtful as Kingsolver, as entertaining as Bourdain, and as cogent and critical as Pollan. “I have had the incredible good luck to have eaten dozens and dozens of French meals with Gerry Dryansky, and he was never wrong. I mean, never. We would travel down some little street, to some little restaurant, and then: delight, pure pleasure. There’s nobody I know, in Paris or New York, who understands French food the way Gerry does. And surely nobody who writes about it as well as he does.” —Alan Furst, author of Spies in the Balkans
"[An] appetizing, evocative, eccentric paean to Gallic gastronomy . . . Coquilles, Calva, & Crème is an evocation of the kind of cooking that made French food famous in the first place." —The Wall Street Journal
Gerry Dryansky has called Paris home for more than thirty years, two decades of which he spent as the senior European correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler. He has written for magazines and newspapers around the globe and lives in France with his wife, Joanna, who is the coauthor of this volume.