HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


No Reservations: Provence

Well done Bourdain, excellent episode!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I only saw part of it ---will catch it next week on the reruns---but really enjoyed it. It is funny that we all aspire to the simpler life of Provence where in reality people were struggling not to starve. But then thats not a new development---think about Marie Antoinette and the little farm at Versailles. . . .

    Can't wait for next french holiday. In the meanwhile, must ravage French cookbooks and go plant tomatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 Replies
      1. re: ferret

        We are primative---we barely have cable. Why spend money on tv when there is free range organic chicken to buy and Paris to visit? Waiting to next week is fine---the anticipation can build!

    1. That woman was quite rude and annoying imo.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Evilbanana11

        Really??? That's funny--I liked her. She seemed decent to me. We loved the show and were just sighing the entire time. Cannot wait to get back there!!!! Every nuance was spot on!! Bourdain is just so great--I love the fact he is not pretentious and is just comfortable and honest and has a mouth like a truck-driver--it gives me a warm @#$#$ing feeling inside!

        Seriously--why did you find that woman rude?

      2. Did anyone catch the name of the pasta dish he cooked at the end?

        7 Replies
        1. re: OnkleWillie

          You mean the boutargue/bottarga? That's the French name for the pasta dish made with the local mullet roe, grated over pasta with oil and herbs.

          Like les tripes provencales, I sometimes wonder if people pretend to like it because of tradition.

          Just kidding. But it's the definition of an acquired taste, especially for Western palates. I actually can enjoy it from time to time -- but I bet it's been seven or eight years since I had it. Mullet roe can be really overwhelming, even for people who like fish.

          1. re: dmd_kc

            Many thanks, I had my glasses off and the sound down when that went by. Yes - I think that might be a hard sell in this house.

            1. re: dmd_kc

              And here I am wondering where to buy some dried mullet roe because I'm thinking my pups would love that dish. . . .they couldn't stop going oooooo watching the show last night.

              1. re: jenn

                Jenn, do you mean literal pups as in dogs, or kids? Either way, I love the mental image.

                Prompted by this thread and the episode, I just asked my favorite niche grocer to order me in a jar of the roe. I haven't had it in ages and ages. I've never had the stuff they sell in Florida, and I have no clue if it's the same as the ingredient you get in Provence/Italy.

                1. re: dmd_kc

                  I mean as in kids. If I'm a chow hound they must be chowpups, right? They eat everything my husband and I do, if not more, since they are quite enamoured of fish heads and chicken feet and I can only deal with so much of that stuff..............................

                  1. re: jenn

                    BEYOND lucky you are! Let me know if you find a good mail-order supplier of the roe, because mine's gonna set me back about $50.

                2. re: jenn

                  I was thinking the same thing: must buy bottarga, must buy bottarga ... I've loved it the few times I've tried it, and would love to make that pasta.

            2. The best episode of the new series.

              I was in Provence 18-months ago, and now want even more to return. It truly is an amazing set of conditions that make it what it is. Perfect climate and growing conditions, close access to the Mediteranean, and most important of all, it's in France, where food quality is revered. Of course, food aside, being extraordinarily beautiful helps, too.

              1. Finally saw the show---most excellent. I loved the guys tossing back sausage and wine for breakfast. Oh, heck, I loved it all!
                Now I want to be in Provence. . . .can someone please point me in the direction of a winning lottery ticket?

                1. I loved the ep too but have to say I was surprised how many overweight people I saw. I thought there was this whole thing about how "french women don't get fat" because of their diet, active lifestyle with a lot of walking, small portions of rich foods, etc. But I saw plenty of overweight people.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    We've been only in Nice; it was many years ago, but I remember that people there tended to be either slender or fat. My guess was that since Nice can be a tiring, demanding place to walk around, once you head inland from the Promenade des Anglais, the slender ones did that and the chubby ones drove or called a cab. We walked, as we had done in Paris and Burgundy, and in spite of feasting well and frequently came home a good 10+ pounds lighter than we'd left.

                    Now: we missed this show, but we WILL find it.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      There are fat people all over France, though not in the concentrations you see in the US. But yes, in the Midi, there are lots and lots of overweight people, particularly those over 50. In Paris, Lyon and Marseilles, the social pressure to stay thin is absolutely enormous, especially for women.

                      But yeah, anyone who says "French women don't get fat" hasn't spent much time in the Midi, Alsace or Bretagne.

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        Having spent a couple of vacations down in the Midi I have to agree with you.

                    2. re: rockandroller1

                      Only Parisian women don't get fat. The amount of fat and carbs eaten (and the scant amount of vegetables in some areas) pretty much ensures that once you hit a certain age, you're going to gain weight there.

                    3. The best point in the epsiode for me was Bourdain's revelation about how we crave and in some sense popularize what we cannot have due to economic and cultural circumstance and in some ways geography. Meaning that somehow we want to live and eat like peasants (like those in Provence who have to work ultra hard to make ends meat, living very simply and off the land with fresh produce etc that might or might not be taken for granted). It all makes sense... as savvy restauranteurs around the world try to upscale comfort and peasant food (with or without putting it on wheels like a taco truck), and suddenly lines are blurred.