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

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  555 ratings  ·  78 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 1,497)
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alissa
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
Jessica
Dec 15, 2007 Jessica rated it 1 of 5 stars
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
Sarah
Jan 30, 2013 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Patti
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
Carol
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...more
Michele
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.
Anne Green
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
Lynn Anne
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...more
Robin
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 seasonaleating.net. 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
Jane
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...more
Booknblues
A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France
By Georgeanne Brennan
4 stars
pp.209

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...more
Josephine
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,...more
Rachelle
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
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
Kathryn
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.
Michael Kerr
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...more
Carol Wakefield
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.
Kathleen
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!

J
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...more
Marsha Harris
I enjoyed the setting more than any other aspect of the book, though the images of food were also quite enticing. The author caught the essence of Provence, its people, its foods, and traditions. Anyone who is a Francophile, a foodie, or a wannabe traveler will enjoy this book.
Ria
Like Ms Brennan, I too am enchanted by Provence. Unlike her, I am still looking for a way of making France my second home. Much as I enjoyed Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence", "A Pig in Provence" is a more graceful memoir. Brennan's respect for the French country life - la vraie France - and her love for this wonderful piece of the world shines through every word. The pig of the title, Lucretia, is rather endearing as are the goats. Her description of the "transhumance" has me scheming how I ca...more
Ann
Interesting glimpse into a lifestyle and landscape largely unfamiliar to me. Brennan is a cooking instructor from California with a second home in rural France. This memoir includes recipes as well as colorful accounts of the author's experiences with people and places that, along with her husband and two children, formed the essence of her life in Provence. Her book will appeal to serious cooks, fans of French culture and cuisine, and anyone who enjoys a vicarious ramble into rural life in an e...more
Kay
I wanted to read this book since we are traveling to France and definitely love food. It was interesting at first but became just snips of food with no real storyline to connect me emotionally to Georgeanne or her family. Disappointed.
Ashland Mystery Oregon
A magical read that satisfies all the senses, A Pig in Provence is a lyrical narrative filled with friends, food and a landscape that calms and delights. Brennan relates her life in southern France, looking back on her young family, the long relationships that have sustained her and the food that nourished and gave continuity and cohesion throughout.

-- Ashland Mystery

Kathy
If you are a foody, this is a fun book and very interesting. Author has written over 30 books and continues to teach cooking ... this is an autobiography of 3 years spent in France in 1960's.
William
I love this book, not only for the exquisite memoir parts that capture a time and place very close to my heart and not to distant from my own childhood experiences in Provence, but also because this book is full of wonderful Provencal recipes! Georgeanne is one of my Provencal cooking idols. I have a stained copy of A Pig in Provence on our kitchen book shelf next to an even more stained copy of her fabulous The Food and Flavours of Haute Provence.
When Georgeanne reviewed my own book I found he...more
Ana Maria
This book is fine if you love reading about life in Provence as I do. The early chapters were entertaining as she details her struggles making cheese. I also enjoyed the chapters about mushroom hunting and the butchering of the pig. However, I thought it could have come together better in a storytelling fashion.
Barbara
I'd like to make this one 3 1/2 stars. A nice story, some recipes which sound great but that I'll probably never try and lots of interesting facts about France and French cuisine. It was easy to put down and forget about though, so good for a busy time with company when I didn't have much time to read.
Peggy L
Because I have a friend who raises goats and makes her own cheese, and another who wishes she did, I picked this book up to read.
After finding her goats the author continued to learn from the locals, raising the goats, pigs and chickens all for use in the kitchen.
I enjoyed reading about the community feasts and long summer suppers under the fading sun and rising moon. Even though I am not a foodie, I enjoyed reading the recipes and imagining the French kitchen and friends cooking together.
I coul...more
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