All posts by Patricia Wells

(Contributing Editor, Paris by Mouth) Patricia Wells is an internationally recognized cookbook author, restaurant critic and teacher who divides her time between Paris and Provence. Her book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence (1996) won the James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook. She served as restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune from 1980-2007 and for L’Express from 1988–1991. She remains the only American food writer to have been a restaurant critic for a major French publication. Her popular cooking classes in both Paris and Provence are usually booked more than a year in advance.
MAP

Patricia Wells on The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris App

We know we’re not the only ones with memories of pouring over The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris in anticipation of a trip, or carrying a dog-eared copy of this classic around the city. For us, it was the only guide book that mattered, and we’re thrilled that Patricia Wells has at last updated the tome, in app form. Here’s the back story,  from Patricia herself.    – Meg & Barbra

For years, people have stopped me on the streets of Paris to ask the same question: “When are you going to update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris?”

When the last update was published in 1999, I felt that I needed to move beyond the guide. My cooking classes, travels, other books, took up all my time and I was beginning to feel like a singer who was expected to belt out the same song over and over again.

Then one day a little more than a year ago my husband, Walter, turned to me and said. “Why don’t you update The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris as an app for the iPhone?” I didn’t need to think for even a second. It’s as if the guide was always meant to be an app. Where you can find an address on a map. Call the establishment by just pressing a button. Connect to their web site. Find places open on Sunday or Monday. The best roast chicken or black truffle dish.

I laugh now when I think of how primitive our conditions were when we began researching the guide in 1982: no home computer, no home copier, no Post-it, no Fed Ex, no fax. We typed our copy on carbon paper on a portable Smith Corona typewriter and sent the manuscript via snail mail.

But many conditions remain the same. After 32 years of research in Paris, I still l get lost exiting certain Métro stops and criss-cross the city rain or shine until my feet will no longer take me where I want to go. Research is research and writing is writing, and that will never change.

The entire app experience has been thrilling. And a bit daunting. As well as a gamble. When you write a book, the publisher pays you an advance, you write it, and let them deal with copy editing, layout and design, promotion, distribution, sales. With an app, you’re a one-man band. Unless you have a sponsor or advertiser (we didn’t) you fund the entire project. You interview developers and hire the best. You work on the design, look, feel. You write, edit, copy edit, take photos, crop, dot the i’s and cross the t’s. And then you get to do all the promotion. It’s all been a learning curve, and a good one at that.

As an author, an app offers instant gratification: I love the fact that I can make unlimited minute-by-minute updates, change a review, add a new photo, delete an establishment I may no longer think is worthy. And I no longer have to walk down the street saying “Never” to the reading public.

Android? Blackberry? The future will tell. I am researching and writing as fast as I can: A book update to The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris is in the works, with all new photos and recipes, so no one ever need go hungry in Paris again!

 For more information and to purchase the app, visit www.foodloversparis.com

Please like & share:
Guy-Savoy-artichoke-soup-with-parmesan-and-truffles-photo-Meg-Zimbeck

Recipe: Artichoke Soup with Parmesan and Truffles

Artichoke Soup with Parmesan and Truffles

Ever since I sampled this smooth, gorgeous soup at Guy Savoy’s restaurant in Paris in the 1980’s, it has been one of my perennial favorites. I prepare this year-round, sometimes even for myself for lunch (without truffles!), because it is so filling and fulfilling. I make it with fresh or frozen artichokes bottoms or even top quality artichoke hearts from a jar or a can, which have the same rich flavor of fresh artichokes with none of the labor. Also, I NEVER discard rinds of Parmesan: They add a delicious richness to the flavor of any soup.

EQUIPMENT: Cheesecloth; cotton twine; A small jar with a lid; a mandolin or a very sharp knife;  wire-mesh tea infuser; a food mill fitted with a medium screen; 12 warmed shallow soup bowls.

Several rinds of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 pounds (1 kg) artichoke hearts (about 12), fresh, from a jar, a can, or frozen (no need to thaw)

2 quarts (2 l) Homemade Chicken Stock (page 195)

4 imported bay leaves

Fine sea salt

1 fresh black truffle (about 1 ounce; 30 g), cleaned (see Note)

One 2-ounce (60 g) chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1. Wrap the cheese rinds in the cheesecloth and secure with the cotton twine. In a large, heavy-duty casserole, combine the cheesecloth bundle, artichokes, stock, and bay leaves. Season lightly with salt. Cover, and simmer just until the artichokes are soft and the flavors have had time to mingle, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove and discard the bay leaves and cheese rinds.

2. With a vegetable peeler, peel the truffle. Mince the truffle peelings, place in a small jar, and tighten the lid. Reserve the peelings for another use. With the   mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the truffle into very thin slices.

3. Place the food mill over a large bowl and puree the soup into the bowl. (Discard any fibrous bits that remain in the mill.)  Return the soup to the saucepan. The soup should be a pleasant golden-green and should have the consistency of a thin purée. If too thin, reduce it slightly over moderate heat.

4. With a vegetable peeler, shave long, thick strips of the cheese onto a plate.

5. Ladle the soup into the bowls. Carefully, place the cheese shavings on top of the soup. If done correctly, the shavings should sit delicately on top of the soup, half-melted, but still intact. Top with truffle slices. Serve immediately.

Want More?

Patricia Wells’ newest book Simply Truffles contains 60 recipes, plus tips on buying, storage and preparation that will help any cook who lucky enough to get her hands on a truffle. As chef Joël Robuchon writes in the foreward, “Patricia Wells, charming talented ambassador for the truffle, succeeds beautifully in sharing her love for this mysterious product of incomparable taste.”

Additional Links

  • Truffles 101: Black diamond basics – Patricia Wells explains why truffles smell like “a rumpled bed after an afternoon of love in the tropics”… and other important tuber trivia.



Please like & share:

Patricia Wells

Patricia Wells 2Patricia Wells is an internationally recognized cookbook author, restaurant critic and teacher who divides her time between Paris and Provence. Her book Patricia Wells at Home in Provence (1996) won the James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook. She served as restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune from 1980-2007 and for L’Express from 1988–1991. She remains the only American food writer to have been a restaurant critic for a major French publication. Her popular cooking classes in both Paris and Provence are usually booked more than a year in advance.

Website

http://www.patriciawells.com/

Books

About Food in Paris

About Food in Provence and elsewhere

Please like & share: