Armchair Traveller: On Rue Tatin
How many shopping days until Christmas? I think I have time to squeeze in another book recommendation.
This one is by another American cookbook author who transplants herself to France, but she doesn’t write about cooking in the World’s Most Glorious ― and Perplexing ― City. Instead, she and her family live (and cook and eat) in a small village in Normandy.
On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis is part travel memoir, part cookbook. There is one long tedious chapter to get through that describes her history with France and how she and her husband came to live in Normandy, but after that the book picks up its pace. Many pages are devoted to their struggles (and expenses) of renovating the house they bought beside the Romanesque/Gothic village church into a family home. The building was a convent for three hundred years, then an antique shop; I dread to think of what it looked like when she first set foot inside. It is in this convent-turned-home that she also teaches week-long classes at her cooking school, also named On Rue Tatin.
Although the first chapter of On Rue Tatin almost made me put the book down (what was her editor thinking?), Normandy is an underrated region of France and for that reason alone I recommend giving the book a read. I also have to ’fess up that Loomis’s assessment of the amount of rain Normandy is known for made me laugh: as a former Seattleite, she assured her readers it was nothing. That was enough to convince me that I would feel right at home in Normandy. And her recipes are enticing enough that I have already decided my next cooking class will be on Norman cuisine (here in Vancouver, alas, not in Normandy). But I can already smell the tarte tatin I will be baking.