France is more then baguettes, cheese and wine. It only seemed appropriate to share this post on Bastille Day. Being a regular reader of Chez Us you are aware that we are enormous Francophiles so it may seem as no surprise that we are taking you from Paris to Provence today.
Our friend, Sara Remington, along with her childhood friend Ethel Brennan, have written an utterly gorgeous book, Paris to Provence. The book takes you on a childhood journey that they both shared during their youth, and then relived when they ventured to write this book. It is a journey you want to go on if you love anything about France. Paris to Provence is a book chalk-full of deliciously fun adventures which involved eating simple French food, not only in common bistros but in other French homes, at truck stops (yes, they have these in France) along the way to somewhere new to explore and along dusty streets of France. It is not only a journey, but it is romantic, as well.
Paris to Provence is not your typical French cookbook, but instead is a journey that starts with a fun anecdote written by either Sara or Ethel which leads you to a recipe which provoked that memory. One of my favorite is a story about a truck stop along the journey to Provence where Ethel remembers “grizzled” truck drivers sitting around enjoying Steak Au Poivre. Here in the states we think of this is a special occasion recipe instead of an everyday, truck drivers fuel for the road. As I read the words that Ethel put to paper, I could picture a row of burly men bellied up to the counter, enjoying a glass of red wine along side their platter of steak frites. Another favorite is where Sara’s father lifts her up to peer through the little plastic window of a French creperie so that she could see the batter being perfectly cooked. I still have to creep up on my tippy toes to watch this gleeful moment when I am waiting for a crepe when in Paris.
I tried a few recipes in this whimsical book from a traditional roasted chicken to baked tomatoes that are filled with buttery breadcrumbs, both recipes left me wanting to lick the plate clean. I am eagerly awaiting some free time in our kitchen so that I may continue my journey along the dusty road from Paris to Provence. Next up is Fraises Au Vin Rouge or Gateau Au Fromage De Chèvre Et Citron or maybe a big batch of Pistou A La Provencal to warm us during these chilly Bay Area summers.
If you cannot get to France this summer, I recommend that you take this journey with us along the road from Paris to Provence; it will not only delight your tastebuds, but it is a visual journey you will fall in love with.
** I am sharing one of my favorite street food recipes for a simple Jambon Beurre Sandwich, which we enjoy often when wondering the streets of Paris.
Recipe: Jambon Beurre Sandwich
homemade butter if you cannot get French – see Chez Us for how to make butter
thinly sliced ham
tomato, thinly sliced
Cut the baguette into serving sizes.
Generously spread the inside of the baguette with butter.
Top the butter with thin slices of ham, then a slice or two of tomato.