Patricia Wells’ Salads: The Secret’s in the Crunch!

Culinary legend Patricia Wells shares her secrets for great tasting salad in her 12th book, Salad As A Meal, featuring recipes inspired by her Provencal garden.

Before writing cookbooks and running a cooking school in Paris and Provence with her husband Walter, this Milwaukee native was a reporter and editor for The Washington Post and The New York Times, where she launched the Living Food Section in 1976.

Patricia’s palate earned the respect of French foodies when she became the only foreigner – and woman – to serve as restaurant critic for Paris’ L’Express. And for over 25 years, Patricia was the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune.

Even though Patricia is a global gourmand, she exudes the graciousness of her mid-western roots. She loves coleslaw and bratwurst and admits that she is still “a cheese head.” Her favorite cheese is Comte Jura (available locally at Caputo Cheese Market), an aged hard cheese with a nutty flavor.  Found in the Alsace area, this cheese “is most delicious,” according to Patricia, “when served with white wine. Extraordinary.”

After Julia Child sent fan mail to Patricia in 1984 (writing “I hope to meet you”) a close friendship developed. Julia and her husband Paul often spent time cooking in Provence with Patricia and Walter. “I feel so lucky,” Patricia said. “She was generous, fun and real.” She wrote a beautiful tribute after Julia’s death, and treasures cooking on Julia’s “cantankerous” stove, a special keepsake of their friendship.

So what are Patricia’s secrets for a delicious salad? Crunch and color. The new book features recipes that your guests will savor through each season. She is delighted with the photographs taken by Jeff Kauck, an award-winning Chicago photographer.

Jeff, a James Beard nominee, describes his culinary adventure: “The magic of the light in Provence, the food, the wine, the brilliance of Patricia Wells…it was just the experience of a lifetime. And I’m even more grateful that I had the pleasure of enjoying it with my family.”

You too can enjoy cooking with Patricia Wells in her 18th century home in Provence or in her artist atelier in Paris. Meanwhile, sample a taste of summer in Provence with one of her recipes.  Bon Appétit!

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