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The Cook and the Gardener

A Year of Recipes and Notes from the French Countryside

Amanda Hesser (Author), Kate Gridley (Illustrated by)


The unique, award-winning cookbook—a collection of seasonal recipes from a traditional French garden.

Winner of the Best Book on France by a Non-French Writer Award at the Versailles Cookbook Fair; finalist for the Julia Child Award, the Gourmet Magazine Award, and "Best Cookbook of the Year" sponsored by IACP; and nominated in the international category of the KitchenAid Book Awards of the James Beard Foundation Awards.

A unique blend of stylish cookbook and earthy garden story, here is a collection of 250 recipes derived from a centuries-old French kitchen garden. The stunning debut of a lively new culinary voice, The Cook and the Gardener chronicles a year in the life of the walled kitchen garden at Chateau du Fey and its taciturn, resourceful, charmingly sly peasant caretaker. Using the fruits and vegetables harvested from Monsieur Milbert's garden, Amanda Hesser creates four seasons of recipes tied ineluctably to the land and the all-but-forgotten practices upheld by Milbert. Hesser's sublimely simple recipes—each with accessible ingredients and clear notes and instructions—also tell a story. They are a month-by-month record of the ingredients available to her, so that this cookbook also serves as an almanac for cooks. Special "Basics" sections at the opening of each season lay the culinary groundwork for the recipes that follow. Tips on how to buy, store, and prepare particular vegetables, fruits, and herbs are presented in margin notes to recipes. By bringing the kitchen closer to the garden, The Cook and the Gardener gives home cooks a new understanding of the produce they have on hand, whether from the supermarket, the farmer's market, or their own gardens. At the same time, it captures the quirky customs and wily wisdom of a vanishing way of life in provincial France.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • March 1999
  • ISBN 978-0-393-04668-7
  • 7.7 × 9.6 in / 640 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.


Endorsements & Reviews

“This is most assuredly a cookbook, with a collection of 250 seasonal recipes. But Hesser devotes the majority of her exceptional prose to the yearlong blossoming of her friendship with (and informal apprenticeship to) Monsieur Milbert, the august 79-year-old tender of the chateau's two-acre vegetable garden.” — Saveur

“In courting the wisdom of M. Milbert, Hesser gained the kind of old-fashioned seasonable sensibility that many of us have lost today—and her delightful recipes reflect this.” — Fine Cooking

The Cook and the Gardener is more than an excellent cookbook. Hesser's knowledgeable, graceful, and opinionated prose calls to mind the great food writers M. F. K. Fisher and Elizabeth David.” — Cooking Light

“A seasonal tribute to the symbiotic relationship between a chef and her provider of ingredients.” — Austin Chronicle

“Both Hesser's taste and voice are gentle and sure.” — New York Times Book Review

Also by Amanda Hesser All

  1. Book CoverCooking for Mr. Latte: A Food Lover's Courtship, with Recipes


  2. Book CoverEat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table, a Collection of Essays from the New York Times


  3. Book CoverThe Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century


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