When Gene and I were digging through his negatives the other night we found some photographs he shot of Mireille Guiliano, former President and CEO of Veuve Clicquot. I asked him: so what did you talk about? He said the obvious: “Champagne”.
Those who know me are aware of my dreadful cooking skills. At best, I am a well intended cook. Some dear friends even tried to assist me by giving me great vegetarian books with no avail. So when I picked up Mireille Guiliano’s books on French cooking it was common knowledge that I should just stick to some basic American classics like spaguettios and hamburgers (the veggie and frozen ones) and leave the Julia Child in me in its hibernating state.
But I couldn’t put her books down. Mireille Guiliano’s descriptions of petit-fours and croissants were only overshadowed by the prospect of using thyme, leeks, shallots and lavender on everyday cooking. Add to that the rituals of a glass of wine as a quotidian act; and off course all bubbly details about Champagne from Madame Clicquot’s cellars.
But there is more than Duck Breast ‘A la Gascone or Rack of Lamb Persillage on Mireille Guiliano’s books. Its pages intermingle french cuisine recipes with rendezvous through Paris and its sister city, New York; The routine of a business women in a field over taken by not so cavalier men; the lifestyle of meetings in multiple continents and simultaneously keeping a lasting and happy marriage; And the set example of a woman content in spite the fact she chose not to be a mother. Something this baby driven society of ours was making me believe was not possible. And how could any woman not respect a writer that dedicates an entire chapter to “Bread and Chocolate” and tell us all: savour.