The Best Books on Provincial French Cooking for Home Cooks

By Clifford A. Wright

The Books I Picked & Why

The Cooking of Provincial France

By Mark Kauffman, M. F. K. Fisher

The Cooking of Provincial France

Why this book?

The Time-Life Foods of the World series first published in the 1960s is hands down, to this day, the best books on the various cuisines of the world. Every book in the series is top-notch but the one on provincial French cooking was edited by the famous food writer M. F. K. Fisher. The book, as all in the series, is not written from a chef's point of view, but for the home cook. The recipes are classics and easily do-able by an even slightly competent home cook. They were originally sold as a box set consisting of a large book of text with several recipes and alluring photographs and a smaller spiral-bound book of recipes.


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French Regional Cooking

By Anne Willan

French Regional Cooking

Why this book?

Willan is an Englishwoman who lived most of her life in France where she founded and ran the École de Cuisine La Varenne, in Paris and Burgundy. All her books are great, but this book is superlative, and I would put it in the same ranks as the Time-Life book. Its depth of knowledge and breadth is wonderful and there is much to explore and learn. The recipes are gems and work every time.


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The Cooking of South West France

By Paula Wolfert

The Cooking of South West France

Why this book?

Wolfert made her name with her book Couscous and Other Food of Morocco, first published in 1973. This groundbreaking book was not only the first time an American writer’s topic was North African food but Wolfert explored for the first time its culinary anthropology. This book on southwest France might even be better than her couscous book. Its depth of understanding and explanation is amazing. Its thoroughness is unparalleled. Its fastidiousness might annoy some readers, but one will never claim there wasn’t enough detail. Follow this book and you will be able to make confit de canard to use in your equally authentic cassoulet of southwest France.


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French Provincial Cooking

By Elizabeth David

French Provincial Cooking

Why this book?

David was one of the most famous food writers in post-World War II Europe and she introduced English readers to the cuisine that exists beyond the celebrated kitchens of the top chefs of Paris. Although the recipes are written in a more abbreviated style than one sees today, her personable stories enliven the dishes she includes so you the reader will excitedly jump right to the kitchen and get cooking.


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Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

By Maurice Edmond Sailland

Traditional Recipes of the Provinces of France

Why this book?

Better known by his pen-name Curnonsky, Maurice Edmond Sailland, was called the Prince of Gastronomy and was the most celebrated writer on gastronomy in France in the 20th century. Notice I say writer on gastronomy and not most famous chef or most famous cookbook author. What Curnonsky did was write about the whys and wherefores of the great provincial cuisines of France. If you think you know something about provincial French cuisine, Curnonsky will enlighten you with his explorations into the culture and geography of these various regions. The recipes in some cases will be unfamiliar and archaic, although no less delicious. The book is a gem.


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