The first wine I ever tried was from Bordeaux. My father wasn't much of a drinker, but he always had a sense of what was best in any sphere, so he chose excellent French wines and put them in a little hideaway inside our linen closet. He brought them out for special occasions when I was growing up, serving them in cut-crystal glasses with wide, awkward mouths. To me, Bordeaux was exotic, hedonistic.
For a while I was a French wine snob, but over time, my palate broadened, and my relationship with French wine and food changed. First I was in love with them, then annoyed by their pretension, a feeling subsequently overshadowed by one of boredom (France was ossified, rule-bound), until finally I arrived at a renewed infatuation. How could I ever have been bored? Ignorant was more like it. In this issue, we showcase the best of French inspiration.
- Alain Ducasse: A Lesson in Modern French Cooking
- The Radical French-Canadian Food of Joe Beef
- Things You Need to Know About French Wine
Jacques Pépin, my friend and hero and a longtime contributing editor to F'W (that's us in the photo at right), has introduced me to so many French food and wine classics. In his new book, Essential Pépin, he has compiled his best dishes. Our staff has chosen some favorites, among them the most delicious duck à l'orange ever. And his apple galette! So perfect for fall with its buttery crust.