A celebration of French cuisine and culture, from a culinary adventurer who made his mark decades before Anthony Bourdain arrived on the scene. Traveling through the provinces, cities, and remote country towns that make up France, Waverley Root discovers not only the Calvados and Camembert cheese of Normandy, the haute cuisine of Paris, and the hearty bouillabaisse of Marseilles, but also the local histories, customs, and geographies that shape the French national character. Here are the origins of the Plantagenet kings and Rabelais's favorite truffle-flavored sausages, and the tale of how the kitchens of Versailles cooked for one thousand aristocrats and four thousand servants in a single day. Here, too, are notes on the proper time of year to harvest snails; the Moorish influences on the confections of the Pyrenees, where the plumpest geese are raised; and the age of the oldest olive tree in Provence. In short, here is France for the chef, the traveler, and the connoisseur of fine prose, with maps and line drawings throughout.