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August 27, 2019

Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table by Carole Bumpus ~ a Review

by MK French

A retired family therapist, Carole and her husband traveled to France with P, a friend and translator. They went through the countryside with the intention of learning about cuisine pauvre, the everyday peasant-style cooking that the people use, as well as the stories and traditions of the families there.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2019; She Writes Press; 978-1631525490
ebook, print (264 pages); nonfiction
The majority of the families that Carole talks with are related to her friend P, so there are family stories about her as well as stories about the towns themselves. This gives the book a blend of history, travel guide and cooking blog. Formal recipes are at the end of the book but are discussed within the conversations in the beginning.

Stories are about how life was in WWI and WWII, as well as the foods and memories the people had about celebrations they had cherished as children. There are similarities between the regions of Alsace and Lorraine, as children had gone with their parents to random areas when the Germans invaded, or the effects of wartime had led families to really pare down their traditional celebrations of holidays.

A lot of the cuisine in the regions were influenced by other countries, as there had been immigration in the area to work in the iron mines as well as the war. All of the families did what they could, and stressed the togetherness and whatever they could save from their traditions in spite of the wartime tensions and scarcity of supplies. It really harkens back to a quote early on in the book: "Life is worth living, and if you can recognize the value of each pleasurable moment, you are truly a winner."

Buy Searching for Family and Traditions at the French Table at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. i'm pretty much a plain jane when it comes to flavoring my food. pretty boring really.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. It's still really interesting to read about the intersection between culture and food options, especially how war had influenced supplies of the foodstuffs.