Food and Travel Writing: Duck Season – David McAninch

With charming line drawings throughout, this memoir of McAninch’s time in Gascony learning to cook duck joins books like Adam Gopnik’s The Table Comes First in offering an armchair journey into another culture and its foodways.

 “In this story of an American cooking his way through France, McAninch does not just go through the motions in order to check his experience off some professional and personal bucket list. He moves his family to the rural area of Gascony for nearly a year and harmoniously integrates himself with the locals; he pays respects to deeply rooted traditions, and falls in love with the area in beautiful and unexpected ways; and he educates readers about hunting and cooking duck….McAninch’s warm and fluid delivery, readers come away with a taste and respect for a regional commodity, a handful of enticing recipes, and a new appreciation for friendships unfettered by origin or boundary.
Publishers Weekly

 “In Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, novice adventurer D’Artagnan leaves Gascony to find his fortune in Paris. In Duck Season, Chicago journalist McAninch reverses course by leaving Chicago with his wife and grade school daughter to live in an old mill in Gascony for 8 months. We learn along with the author, about the local specialties foie gras (now mostly made with ducks and not geese), duck confit, the micro distilled brandy Armagnac, slow and low cooked meat stews, and gateau a la broche (Google image it).The author is a master at describing food, as well as portraying the generous Gascons who share their homes and kitchens with him:  “I realized I’d stumbled into the Alexandria Library of canning cellars.” A rare and addictive look at the agricultural region of France that shares its border with Spain.”
— Carla Bayha, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Duck Season: Eating, Drinking, and Other Misadventures in Gascony–France’s Last Best Place (9780062309419) by David McAninch. $28.99 hardcover. 3/7/17 on sale

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