Saturday, January 3, 2009

Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle

I meant to read Peter Mayle's memoirs of his transplanted life in Provence in order - but I misplaced A Year in Provence, and picked this one up from my mom. Mayle focuses generally on being an outsider in France (he is British), and how he and his wife go about becoming accustomed to French life, and the quirky adventures and misunderstandings they have along the way. Mayle has a wonderful sense of humor - and reminds me a great deal of Bill Bryson (though a little more refined). Each chapter stands alone - though once in awhile there are references to earlier events or characters. As he is in France, my favorite chapters focus on food - and there are a few in this book about the French obsession with truffles. I love hearing about Mayle's experiences with 5-course meals in Michelin rated restaurants, and his unassuming finds in little known bistros or makrets. It never makes me stop wishing for that 3-hour dinner, filled with new discoveries of flavors. There were a few chapters in here that failed to hold my attention, but overall since I'm not traveling right now and don't have the time to immerse myself in another culture, reading about someone who has done so with so much enthusiasm is a close second. I need to sort through my books and find A Year in Provence so I can start this journey properly from the beginning.

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