Lulu’s Provençal Table written by American Richard Olney tells the story of how having bought property in Provence he became acquainted with the Peyraud family and fell in love with French cuisine. Olney, who died in 1999, became a renowned authority on French cooking and wine. The text of this latest edition, which was first published in 1994 in the United States is largely unchanged, however, it now has the useful addition of metric measurements.
A book of delight
What a delight this book is – through Richard Olney’s captivating prose the reader is transported to a Provence baking under a blue sky where the hot sun draws out the scent of
lavender and thyme, Readers can almost bite into the succulent, warm, ripe tomatoes and indulge in the harvests of black olives, grapes and fish fresh from the sea.
Lulu, the reader quickly learns, is Mme Lucien Peyraud; her husband, Lucien, proprietor of the Domaine Tempier and Bandol wine. And Lulu has a big family to feed along with friends and visitors a plenty.
The book starts with a forward from the legendary chef and restaurateur Alice Waters recalling her memories of Lulu, her cooking and the wines. before moving onto a delightful account of Domaine Tempier – its history and the family.
Lulu’s recipes are both traditional and intuitive
Details of seasonal menus and produce follow, making those of us who live in cooler climes and without access to a bountiful Provençal larder green with envy.
Lulu’s cuisine, as Richard Olney takes pains to point out, is both traditional and intuitive. Many of the many recipes are beyond us, not necessarily because they are too complicated (though some are), but because we do not have access to the ingredients. Luckily there are plenty of recipes that we can manage.
There are plenty of recipes that we can manage
In spite of not being able to get our hands on a six month old, run-around-the-farm chicken, we are certainly going to try Lulu’s Roast Chicken with ginger, macaroni and roasting juice, likewise her sautéed chicken with apples and calvados. And there again the Roast Guinea Fowl, and Duck with Olives plus several of the lamb recipes look delicious and worthy of trying.
Desserts, we are told, often comprise a cheese platter and seasonal fruit – sounds good to us, but for the sweet-toothed there are nevertheless some lovely apple and pear recipes; and the walnut gâteau recipe certainly has us intrigued.
Lulu’s Provençal Table. Richard Olney.