Published in 1983 by Dial Press, this seminal work chronicles the lusty, wine-friendly, hedonistic food of the Gascony region of France. It became an instant classic, praised to the skies by everyone from Time
magazine to the New York Times.
Nach Waxman today calls it an important, wonderful book about one of the more interesting places where the French make great food. South-West is the model of what a book should be.
Unfortunately, when the book was published, animal fat was a no-no, and many key ingredients in this regional cooking--duck, duck parts, and foie gras--were hard or impossible to find. When HarperCollins bought Dial, the hardcover, which went in to three printings, went out of print. It was reissued as a paperback in 1988 and remained in print for 15 years. It went out of print in 2002.
We believe that the book has a much wider market today than when it was originally published. It was one of those books ahead of its time and Paula, while greatly respected then, was well known only to a small coterie of food intellectuals. Much as Under the Tuscan Sun came along at just the right time for that region of Italy, causing it to resonate with the American reader, so we believe now is the perfect moment for The Cooking of Southwest France. Despite the controversy surrounding it, foie gras remains one of the quintessential luxury foods, more popular than ever in restaurants and more available than ever before to the home cook, as does duck and its constituent parts. The Bordeaux, Perigord southwestern region of France is a favorite with tourists interested in both food and wine. And the more rustic, hearty, less fussy style of French cooking it boasts is popular in bistros and restaurants across the United States.
To make the book fresh and contemporary, Wolfert added 60 new or revised recipes to the 150 already included, and updated all the other material in the book. As with The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, it will have an attractive package and will feature color photos (for the first time) to garner as large a segment of the market as possible.
Paula Wolfert launched a generation of international culinary adventurers with Cooking of Southwest France: Recipes From France's Magnificent Rustic Cuisine, which she has just revised and updated. A bold and indefatigable cross between Mme. Saint-Ange and Freya Stark, Wolfert writes recipes with such vivid and explicit instructions you might think you were really cooking in Toulouse or Carcassone. --Corby Kummer