This poignant and adventurous book blends memoir with cultural exploration. Sylvie Bigar, born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, became a food and travel writer. In 2008 she set off from New York for southwest France, embarking on what she thought would be a quick trip to write about the beloved local dish cassoulet.
What unfolded was an exploration of culinary and personal history, as Bigar investigated the origins of cassoulet, the modern industrial versions—sold in a can, no less—that threatened its proud heritage, and the fierce resistance to its bastardization by people who cared deeply about the dish.
Her discoveries awakened memories of her privileged family life and its dysfunctions, stretching back generations, and tied to the history of Europe and to Ashkenazic Jews. And in the story of cassoulet and its defenders she discovered a sense of self that helped her bridge many disconnections.
Includes 6 recipes.