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A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  860 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
From the publisher of Under the Tuscan Sun comes another extraordinary memoir of a woman embarking on a new lifethis time in the South of France. Thirty years ago, James Beard Award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan set out to realize the dream of a peaceful, rural existence en Provence. She and her husband, with their young daughter in tow, bought a small farmhouse with a ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 8th 2007 by Chronicle Books
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(showing 1-30 of 2,325)
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Feb 21, 2015 Melodie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
For a good many of us, winter has long lost it's appeal. For moi, it never had any appeal. Too much cold, waayyy too much frozen white stuff. Well, take a staycation. Indulge in a trip to unfamiliar territory with tantalizing tastes. Go to France!
I have never entertained any notion to travel to France. Not on my bucket list, just have never wanted to go. But after reading this, I might consider it. Not your typical travelogue, the author invites you into her home and her life in Provence.From
Dec 15, 2007 Jessica rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I thought this would be a cool book about an American family who decides to live in Provence, France. The author and her family have alternated living in California and Provence, but the book is just random stories compiled from all the times she lived there. The most confusing thing was in one chapter she's with her husband Donald and in another she's with her second husband Jim. What happened to Donald? Divorce? Death? What? Some of the chapters were OK, but I was expecting a continuous story ...more
May 23, 2009 alissa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, pleasures
Being my current obsession is France (don't let me down, Lady!) and food/farming, this book gives me the butterflies just thinking about it. It's also given me trouble on the vegetarian front: am I really? Don't I want to eat Poulet aux quarant gousses d'ail (yeah, that's one chicken, forty cloves of garlic), or roasted leg of lamb? Troubling indeed. But the book is wonderful. The book is about a woman who moves to Provence in the 70s with her three-year-old daughter and her husband. What it's r ...more
Mar 09, 2008 Michele rated it it was ok
This book was odd to me. I expected to like it a lot, & did like it some but not enough to highly recommend it. The food part was interesting & lived up to review promise but the personal part didn't. The author included information about her life in bits & pieces, not in sufficient amounts to really work. It needed a lot more detail, or a lot less with all emphasis on the people & food of France & none on her own life.
I admit I read this food/travel memoir over several weeks in fits and starts so I may not give it the fairest review. It spans forty years or more of food writer/cooking instructor Brennan's life mainly in Provence and a bit of California. The sensual details of food and farming/cooking traditions in Provence are well rendered but the book lacks a strong sense of direction, unlike Peter Mayle's work (my favorite writer about Provence). Recipes enrich the content and some readers may enjoy the bo ...more
Sigh, such a lovely life in Provence. I loved learning all the cooking and mushroom hunting nuances and traditions.

I'm convinced we can all bring aspects of this life with us no matter where we live or in whatever part of the world. It's about slowing down, growing your own food, raising animals if you can...and living the simple life.

Definitely a book I will refer to often. Being pregnant while reading this one her constantly talking about fish broth has made me crave it. We went to the fish
Apr 28, 2013 Robin rated it it was ok
This book has a promising beginning. I typically enjoy books with chapters that tell a story followed by a recipe from the story, in fact I often follow that formula in my own blog at However, unlike a blog, a book works best if the chapters build together to tell an overall story with beginning, middle, and end. Although some of the first chapters tell entertaining stories about an American living with her husband and children in rural Provence in the 1970s, other chapters j ...more
Jan 30, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
A hidden gem written by a woman who lives part time in Provence, first when raising her young family, then on frequent visits. Not so much a memoir as much as it is a travelogue and fascinating exploration of Provence's agricultural and culinary traditions, like the tradition of walking sheep through villages to the Alps to graze in the summer, or the real tradition of making Marseilles bouillabaisse. Some stories are also framed by tales of the author's family living in Provence but the richest ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Patti rated it really liked it
Wonderful book about French cuisine in the Provence region. It was hard not to feel like you were tasting all that was described. I will attempt some of the recipes, but butchering a pig won't be one of them!
Catherine Woodman
I really enjoyed this book, which is a memoir of a life in Provence for a Californian over the course of several decades--the focus is very appropriately on food and the importance of making, growing, preparing, and eating food has in the region. there is a great chapter on starting a goat cheesemaking operation, and another one on making stuffed vegetables that made me want to make this this summer, immediately. Another good theme is the 'use everything' aspect of living that I really love and ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
To continue by French and specifically Provencal immersion, I chose to read this book about a woman who in the 1960s moved to Provence with her husband and small child. They are typically idealistic Americans, hippies, really. who sought to live off the land. Brennan wanted to make goat cheese, but had never made it. Her husband had studied animal husbandry in California. The first chapter is about them buying some goats!

I loved this memoir: the food, the people, the wine, the countryside. Livi
Pat Kaufman
Sep 21, 2015 Pat Kaufman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
This is an interesting read which starts out strongly but then peters out, as if the author is filling chapters to make a book. Starts as the author and her first husband settle in Provence, to make a life of raising goats and making goat cheese... all with no cheese making skills and very little money. Their lives are enriched by the relationships they build in the community which nurtures an intense appreciation of French traditions, both in lifestyle and food. Each chapter relates to a new as ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
The opening chapters of this book were utterly captivating, and I looked forward to learning more about her and her husband and young daughter's experience moving to Provence, where they planned to provide for themselves by making and selling goat cheese. Then it abruptly ends with "we didn't do that for very long" and "then my second husband Jim" ....
The author had what could have been a series of excellent books about living in Provence an condensed it down to one book that covered a lifetime,
Anne Green
May 27, 2014 Anne Green rated it really liked it
A delightful slice of life, food, family and friends based on the author's extended residencies in Provence. It makes you long for a simpler, more authentic way of life where the relationship with food, its production, preparation, cooking and eating is bound up with the day to day fabric of surviving and enjoying what the earth has to offer, and not complicated and endlessly overblown by what's trendy or fashionable. Focused primarily on food and cooking, it gives glimpses into the author's fam ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Bess rated it liked it
Continuing on with my "memoirs about eating in France" series.... This one is sweet and interesting, especially because the author moved to France in the early '70s with her family to make goat cheese in the traditional manner of Provence - so it's not just a tourist book. I was jumping back and forth between this one and "In A French Kitchen" (one on my iPad and one hardback, so which one I was reading at any given moment was really all about which one was closer, and whether I had ambient ligh ...more
Betty C.
Feb 14, 2015 Betty C. rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel-expat
This book started out so well. It promised to be an expat tale unlike others; one of a (probably) hippy-style young California couple setting out to live off the land in pre-tourist invasion, pre-supermarket Provence.

But somewhere mid-memoir, the story line fritters away, and we are left with lengthy and overly detailed descriptions of various food-related events in Provence. But when do they take place? What happened to the first husband so prominently featured in the early chapters? Or even t
Lynn Anne
Mar 26, 2014 Lynn Anne rated it really liked it
The chapters are put together as they relate to different foods in Provence and the author's relationship with them, not as a chronological account of her life in Provence. I could smell the sun-baked earth as I read and imagine the time and pride the locals spent preparing their dishes.

Readers seem upset that she didn't write all the nitty-gritty facts of her personal life. I enjoyed that. No whining. She mentions Donald, her first husband, in the Epilogue with much caring. I'm supposing they j
Jan 22, 2010 Jane rated it it was ok
Parts of this book were really interesting. The first three chapters, which describe Brennan's early years trying to get started as a cheese maker in a small village in Provence in the 1970s, include some very detailed food history, such as an up close description of "le jour du cochon", or the seasonal, day long process of slaughtering, dressing, and preserving an entire pig.

Brennan at her best is a full-sensory writer, and can set a scene really well. Pair that with her curiosity and interest
Jan 25, 2016 Booknblues rated it really liked it
A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France
By Georgeanne Brennan
4 stars

The warmth, the good natural food, the close to the land feel is all there in Georgeanne Brennan's memoir A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France. Which starts with Georgeanne, her husband Donald and her young daughter Ethel attempting to start a goat herd and begin making cheese to sell for a living. They have relocated to Provence during the height of the
I hate the term “foodie” — but I think foodies would like Georgeanne Brennan’s “A Pig In Provence.”

It’s a true food memoir — it’s not a memoir in the sense that you get to really know Georgeanne as a person.

We learn that she and her husband, Donald, buy a farmhouse deep in the backcountry of Provence, where they have every intent of raising their young daughter, Ethel (and then later, their son, Oliver) while living a simple rural life, making and selling goat cheese.

But then, almost in passing,
I am working on a cookbook with Georgeanne, so of course I had to go back and get familiar with her earlier writings. I thought that this memoir would be a great place to start to learn more about her, and I really did. The book definitely romanticizes Provence, but in a way that is appealing and inspiring. Of course, after the first chapter I was in love with the idea of picking up my life and relocating to the French countryside, making goat cheese and preparing fresh meals and tending to goat ...more
Marla Mutch
Feb 15, 2013 Marla Mutch rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, france
I love reading about people, and especially families, who make the leap to live in a far away place. This book really was a kind book, nice about everyone, and had a lot of recipes, but all she talked about was what she ate and how it was cooked and served. There are no wacky locals, or even unique personalities, everyone is a lovely friend. She mentions in passing that they summered with two small children in a house with no toilet and no stove and there are no amusing or even "we over came the ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Pretty interesting you could write a whole book about food and your life in France while skipping around to different periods of your life. I was appreciating food in a whole different light and I really got into it without realizing it. I had a hard time putting it down and love all the recipes she shared. The whole book was about food and somehow it was masked because it wasn't until I was finished I realized it. Loved it.
Robin Shreeves
Jan 23, 2016 Robin Shreeves rated it liked it
I have a slight obsession with Provence (thank you Peter Mayle) although I've never been. A Pig in Provence allowed me to visit for a while. It makes me long to cook simple but good meals with friends and eat them outside. The book is mostly descriptions of meals - one after the next. I found myself reading quickly toward the end because although the meals varied, the story didn't. Good read for those who love food memoirs.
Michael Kerr
Mar 25, 2013 Michael Kerr rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir
This is a food memoir, an episodic recollection of meals eaten and friends made in the south of France. That's it.

The author is stingy in sharing actual life events, emotions and motivations. She casually mentions a first husband (Donald), then later in the book it's Jim... So, did she divorce? Was she widowed? Did she bury the first guy under an olive tree? She drops a few mentions of students from her cooking school - am I supposed to know how this came about? Is this book 6 of a series and I
Aug 18, 2015 Faye rated it really liked it
A willing cook becomes apart time resident of a q uiet French village. She explores and describes the foods of the area with very excellent , melt in your descriptions. Several recipes are included. although they don't seem like they are ere somlkething one would easily aquire the ingredients needed. The amazing thing is the generous use of garlic.
Enjoyab reading experience.
Carol Wakefield
Jul 06, 2014 Carol Wakefield rated it liked it
Enjoyed the book but why? I don't like to cook, many of the foods she described sounded dreadful to me. I think the author uses words well and I was able to feel through her descriptions what it would have been like to experience provence through changing times. I do enjoy travelogues and this half qualifies as one.
Feb 22, 2014 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
I love reading memoirs about people who are daring enough to take chances in changing their path in life. This book is actually a short story collection abut the author's life in Provence. Although there are a few recipes in this book, it is simply about an idyllic life in rural southern France. Enjoyable read!

Dec 27, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
Yum! An excellent book for foodies. A family from California moves to Provence and becomes immersed in the ways of the local cookery where food preparation from source to table becomes a way of life and not just a quick means of staving off hunger. Descriptions are vivid and almost "tastable".
Nov 22, 2012 J rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, cooking
I think people are investing far too much energy trying to categorize this book. Georgeanne Brennan has a unique talent for bringing her recipes to life by offering little vignettes.

This book is a memoir, not a biography. Consequently, the standards I have seen other reviewers attempt to impose on this little book. For my part, the author enriched her recipes with her stories and vice versa.

To that end, for people who love food and enjoy having a story behind the recipe, this is the book for y
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