Coquilles, Calva, and Creme: Exploring France's Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair with French Food

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Overview

The American Winner of the 2012 GOURMAND World Cookbook Award: A celebration and critique of the French culinary landscape and a gastronomical excursion across the French countryside in search of the unsung cooks who are still doing it right.A culinary memoir that 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, ...

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Coquilles, Calva, and Creme: Exploring France's Culinary Heritage: A Love Affair with French Food

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Overview

The American Winner of the 2012 GOURMAND World Cookbook Award: A celebration and critique of the French culinary landscape and a gastronomical excursion across the French countryside in search of the unsung cooks who are still doing it right.A culinary memoir that 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 Créme 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.

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Editorial Reviews

The Wall Street Journal
An appetizing, evocative, eccentric paean to Gallic gastronomy. A richly textured memoir.— Colman Andrews
Mort Rosenblum
“Reading this book is like lunching with Gerry Dryansky: from coquilles to Calva, with crème in between,
it is seasoned with wit and charm. Rich with food-lover wisdom, it captures what France does best.”
Alan Furst
“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.”
Eleanor Beardsley
“A delicious and delightful read,
especially for those who think they might know this country. When you sit down to a meal with Dryansky, you taste the very soul of France.”
Colman Andrews - The Wall Street Journal
“An appetizing, evocative, eccentric paean to Gallic gastronomy. A richly textured memoir.”
Michael Dirda
“Find an escape to a better world in Coquilles, Calva & Creme. A book to dream over.”
David Downie
“Tuck this delicious tome in your hamper between
Proust’s madeleines and the champagne—then feast your soul. The Dryanskys remind us that in France – at least sometimes and in some places – authenticity still rhymes with simplicity, and great writing makes a fine relish.”
Barbara Fairchild
“French food and travel with a dash of history—what a treat it is to sit at the table with this smart, engaging writer. A delicious read from start to finish.”
Gael Greene
“Has France lost its culinary edge? After decades living and chronicling the good life in Paris and overseas, Gerry and Joanne
Dryansky lead us to unsung chefs still championing the country's gourmand heritage.”
Gilles Pudlowski
“G. Y. Dryansky is the greatest gourmand in American letters today, the most gourmet of inquisitive journalists, the most French of foreign correspondents in Paris. When he recounts his exciting adventures in France, we're amused as much as we salivate. Delicious and savory!”
Christian Millau
“Congratulations to Dryansky. It was a great pleasure to read his text, both so well documented and free of polemics.”
Jacques Pépin
“Coquilles, Calva, and Creme vividly brings back my years of working in Paris in the 1950s. When I contemplate my cooking journey of the last half century, from classic to nouvelle, from fusion to modern American to molecular, the only reminiscences I have is of food that touches my soul or makes me salivate. Gerry Dryansky writes honestly and eloquently about these simple, honest, essential dishes in his engaging, compelling, and delicious memoir.”
Harriet Welty Rochefort
“Part memoir, part travelogue, Coquilles, Calva & Creme is a hymn to French food and wine and the joy of wining and dining in France with "convivialité" - which for the French is key. Dryansky has many a story to tell about the past (lunching with the likes of Coco and Yves) but in this present tour de France he greets each dining experience, each new chef, each new winemaker, and each new region, from Alsace to Le Massif Central, with genuine curiosity, an open mind, and a discerning first rate palate. This entertaining, erudite, and elegant book is a must for Francophiles and food lovers everywhere.”
Patricia Wells
“Gerry and Joanne Dryansky's book is a lovely ramble through a lifetime of experiences in France's high spots and some low ones too. Reading it brings as many delights as a marvelous long meal.”
Library Journal
G.Y. Dryansky (former contributing editor, Condé Nast Traveler) and his wife, Joanne, who live in Paris, have clearly left no stone unturned in tracking down historical bits about the culinary heritage of France, including stories of chefs both famous and notorious, restaurants frequented by kings, and those where whores congregated; however, the authors rarely stop long enough to truly satisfy readers' curiosity after piquing it with such wild tales. This book is part history of France, part travelog, and part description of culinary practices and ingredients, interlaced with recipes and tidbits about the people and places that have contributed to France's rich culinary heritage. VERDICT With so much information squeezed into this book, it is a fairly thorough history, but it deprives readers of the pleasure of savoring a well-described meal or a richly told tale. Still, avid followers of food writing or those with a strong interest in culinary heritage will find value.—Ann Wilberton, Pace Univ. Lib., Brooklyn
Kirkus Reviews
A gastronomical memoir of French cuisine that combines historical facts and traditions with today's best dishes. Longtime Condé Nast Traveler senior European correspondent Dryansky (The Heirs, 1978, etc.) and his wife and contributing author, Joanne (Fatima's Good Fortune, 2003), have been living and eating in Paris for more than 30 years. Their remembrances include the joys of eating ortolans, a small bird "not much bigger than the top joint of your thumb," before the creature was declared endangered, and drinking an 1874 Mouton Bordeaux at Chateau Mouton Rothschild with Philippe Rothschild and a Japanese ambassador. The authors write of eating leg of lamb with Coco Chanel in the flat above her couture house and pieds de cochon, breaded and fire-roasted pigs' feet, at a brasserie surrounded by local Parisians. The couple has traveled among farms, vineyards and restaurants across the country, and they recall with great love their adventures and meals. They move from the decadent, overblown, gourmet dishes of the past to the simplicity of the terroir movement, "the unique savor of things that are what they are because of where they are." The prose is as rich and delicious as the highlighted meals, and the authors also include some of the chefs' recipes for confident or adventurous home cooks to try. A journey that will delight the palette and nourish the soul.
The Washington Post
For those who long for that French holiday they're never likely to get, at least not this year, Coquilles, Calva & Creme…will be sheer torture. I mean that in the best sense. Here is a catalogue of refined pleasure, a chronicle of fabulous restaurants and famous acquaintances, a gastronomic memoir focused on the heritage of "real French food."
—Michael Dirda
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605983295
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 6/1/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 1,458,705
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

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, Joanne, who is the coauthor of this volume.

Joanne Dryansky is the wife of Gerry Dryansky, the senior European correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler. Joanne and Gerry moved to Paris and write screenplays and fiction together. Their recent novel Fatima's Good Fortune, after being published in the United States and worldwide, is going to the screen.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    DISTRICT SIX

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    This is a compelling food lover's road journey through beautiful

    This is a compelling food lover's road journey through beautiful France, meeting fascinating people, eating mouthwatering food, lovingly detailed meal after meal. I did not find restaurants where whores congregate today and wonder if that might be another book? Believe me this book is well worth the trip. Barbara MacLaurin

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