Richard Olney's French Wine &
A Wine Lover's Cookbook
Richard Olney was born in marathon, Iowa in 1927 but in 1951 he moved to France and spent most of his life in a house above the village of Solliès-Toucas in Provence, France. He hung out and knew many of the American Bohemian expatriots in Paris after the War such as James Baldwin. He had designs on being a painter but his love of French wine and food led him to writing and we are all the better for it. I picked up Richard Olney's French Wine & Food: A Wine Lover's Cookbook after reading Justin Spring's The Gormand's Way and gained an appreciation of his impact on the modern approach to food, his lifestyle, and his friends. Richard Olney's house in Provence has a garden and he tells you what herbs to plant and how to use them. He has a joy of eating - especially with friends - and sharing his wine that shows on every page of the book. His discussion of how to make a decent salad is reason enough to get the book. In this book he presents 10 meals - one for each wine region of France. He is meticulous and some of his techniques are advanced but he walks you through them and makes you feel you can do it. I rarely drink wine, but as one who attempts to write about beer, I appreciate his straightforward and thorough descriptions of the wines he chooses for each meal and why. Richard Olney is an interesting guy with a wonderful approach to food and drink. As you read the book, you think I want to eat this food and I want to know this guy. Sadly, he passed in 1999 but he has left us some marvelous writing about food and wine. I checked this book out of the library but by page 8 I knew I had to have it and I ordered it from Amazon.