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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you love all things French or just a good travelogue with a culinary angle, Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Book One (Champagne, Alsace, Lorraine, and Paris Regions) in The Savoring the Olde Ways Series by Carole Bumpus is for you. This wonderfully written culinary and travel memoir, the first in a planned series, combines a love for French culture and food with the personal reflections and stories of families the author meets during a road trip through Paris and three other regions. A map of each region is included and recipes for sixteen dishes are provided. The recipes feature a variety of traditional regional offerings using the freshest ingredients including rabbit, beef, pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, pasta, vegetables, cheese, herbs and seasonings, as well as a cake, tarts, a quiche, and a pancake.
In Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table, Bumpus gives us a very personal glimpse into the people, places, and food of four regions of France. The narrative is engaging, highly descriptive, entertaining, warmhearted, sometimes funny and often touching. As much as I enjoyed the descriptions of interesting places and the unveiling of mouthwatering family recipes, I was especially moved by accounts of how French families were affected by world wars and periods of food shortages and struggles. In these compelling accounts, Bumpus’s background as a retired therapist shines through. Her curiosity about what holds European families together reveals levels of the human experience that may focus on the culinary connections but goes far beyond a family’s kitchen table. Highly recommended.