I Am Joe’s Blog:

November 7, 2005 • 10:10 AM

An Afternoon in Provence

Yesterday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of meeting yet another of my literary heroes: Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence and it sequels, several novels, and a few delectable works of non-fiction. His latest book, which I bought yesterday, is Confessions of a French Baker: Breadmaking Secrets, Tips, and Recipes. Mayle wrote this book along with (and as a favor to) baker Gerard Auzet, whose bakery and bread featured prominently in A Year in Provence. It is what it sounds like: a guide to baking bread in the traditional French manner, but written for an audience of mere mortals in Peter Mayle’s inimitable style.

Peter gave a delightful presentation at Book Passage in Corte Madera (just north of San Francisco), where all the biggest writers seem to show up when in northern California. Afterward, when Morgen and I went up for the obligatory autograph (I do seem to be collecting an unusual number of those, don’t I?), I told him that his books had completely changed our eating habits and had been responsible for our taking multiple trips to France (he remarked that it looked good on us); few people can claim to have had such an influence on our lives. Judging by the other comments and questions I heard, he gets that sort of thing a lot.

What a life: kicking back in a comfy home in the south of France, surrounding yourself with incredible food and drink, and making a tidy living writing about your experiences. If Peter Mayle ever quits his job, I’ll be first in line to apply for the position.