"In 2008, award-winning food and travel writer Sylvie Bigar accepted an assignment to write about cassoulet, France’s ancestral bean and meat stew. She never imagined that this seemingly anodyne story would send her down a rabbit hole many miles from her upper-crust childhood in Switzerland, and force her to reckon with her identity and her own dramatic family history.
CASSOULET CONFESSIONS: Food, France, Family and the Stew That Saved My Soul (Hardie Grant; September 13, 2022; $24.99), a poignant gourmand memoir, traces Bigar’s journey through the stunning French countryside near Carcassonne as she learns the deeper meaning of authentic cassoulet from her culinary guru, Eric Garcia, founder of L’Académie Universelle du Cassoulet. As the book vacillates between generational family drama and Bigar’s gastronomic training, the reader is engulfed in the simmering smells of the French kitchen, then suddenly thrown in the front seat of the family car, the author’s jealous sister at the wheel.
Bigar’s memoir is a sensual experience extolling the pain of hunger for home and authentic, sumptuous food against the dramatic backdrop of a Jewish family. The author’s poetic and deceptively simple prose offers an immersive experience, delicious and terrifying at the same time.
A literary feast in the tradition of The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu Jaber, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter, and the memoirs of Ruth Reichl, CASSOULET CONFESSIONS reminds us of the magical power of taste. From her first spoonful of cassoulet, Bigar is transported back to the gilded mansion of her childhood in Geneva and to the dysfunctional childhood she’s spent decades trying to forget."
SEE BELOW FOR FULL RELEASE & PUBLISHER HARDIE GRANT PRESS CONTACT