There is a genre of books; sometimes a memoir, sometimes a novel, that include recipes as part of the story. I have always been drawn to this style of book, because I think every great recipe usually has a good story or memory that goes along with it. The stories of dinners around a table, celebration meals, holidays and delicious food cooked with love.
These two books; Lunch In Paris and Picnic in Provence are beautifully written memoirs about an American girl who falls in love with a man, a country and its food all at the same time. She seamlessly weaves stories about Paris, Provence and the French culture and people, with her love of cooking and eating good food. The books are about her life, her marriage and her struggle to fit in as an American living in France. Cooking, shopping in the daily markets and family recipes are what ultimately help her come to grips with her new life.
At the end of every chapter are recipes; some classic French, some from her American roots. This is not five star French cuisine, but rather simple, hearty recipes, where the fresh ingredients are the star. But, more than anything, it's the stories that go along with the recipes that will tug at your heart strings and make you long to be in Paris or Provence, sitting around the author's table.