Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Cooking for Claudine - John Baxter

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John Baxter is Australian, and he's married to a French woman.  That makes Claudine, his mother-in-law French too.   And yes, he lives in France - although he's also spent time in America and in Britain.  Being  a journalist, a film maker and a cook, he has a great view of life, a taste for the good things in that life (family, food, wine) and a talent for cooking - how fortunate!  However, the French are conservative about food, particularly those who have always lived in rural France, and running through this book is the story of one Christmas dinner - the one where the roast suckling pig became a Cajun (and thus Arcadian) meal, covered in spices (spices?!) and bathed in Guinness.  On Christmas day he has to perform surgery on the pig in order to get it to fit into the oven, and here he is giving instructions over the phone by a surgeon.  He finds two cases of glorious wine in a village shop and is surprised to find that the locals won't pay the price of 10.25 Euros per bottle - although he does!  There are many smiles on the pages, and some laugh out loud moments too, and as well as that, this is a book to share - either by reading out loud, or by giving as a present to someone who loves food and wine.  But don't worry because, even if they are not a Francophile, a foodie or a wine lover, this is an entertaining read, which left me smiling.