On an older post on the blog Letters from a Hill Farm, Nan has reviewed a book called Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living by Robert Arbor and Katherine Whiteside. Nan read this book as part of a Foodie’s Reading Challenge, which sounds like a lot of fun, and she had many good things to say about Joie de Vivre. So many, in fact, that I will be checking Inter Library Loan to see if any libraries in Maine have a copy of Joie de Vivre.

Here is what appealed to me about Nan’s description of Joie de Vivre—the notion that the good life revolves around family, food, and friends and that to cook you don’t need a big kitchen with granite counter tops and fancy equipment. This is from the book: “It’s not just about cooking, decorating, or entertaining – it’s about enjoying all the small details of domestic life. It’s about making time for family, growing some vegetables in your garden, chatting with the butcher, and cooking for your family and friends.”

According to Nan, the point of the book is that you don’t have to live in France to live this kind of life. You can have it New York City; you can have it in Winthrop, Maine. All you have to do is cook, open up your home, and maybe plant a few herbs and vegetables.

Let’s hear it for this kind of good life, which is available even to those of us who live on a modest budget.


  1. I did so love this book! And what you wrote is absolutely true – it is about the life, not the money. I think so often of Julia Child’s little French kitchen and all the wonders which came out of it. Even her Cambridge kitchen wasn’t extravagant compared to today’s designer kitchens, where, I fear, little real cooking goes on. If you can’t find it at a library, I think Joie de Vivre is worth owning. You may find yourself going back to it after reading it. I know I do. I’m going to be making a recipe from it soon – a potato dish I mentioned in the blog entry.

    1. Yes, indeed! It’s about the life, not the money. I’m so looking forward to reading Joie de Vivre. I might just have to buy my own copy.

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