Culinary Romance: “Gourmet Tunisia, Jacqueline Bismuth’s Cookbook”

Finally ! The public presentation of “Tunisie Gourmande, the cookbook of Jacqueline Bismuth” published by Editions de la Martinière, as well as its signature are scheduled Saturday, May 20 at 17 hours at the bookstore Mille Feuilles. The bookseller had had to cancel the signature planned for April, having no longer enough copies in reserve. The book was expected in France where it was presented at the book fair at the stand of Tunisia, last April. (It is No. 1 sales of cookbooks on Amazon), but also in Tunisia where it was temporarily exhausted, ie the success and enthusiasm it generates! By Edia Lesage

A tasty novel

It is that “gourmet Tunisia reads like a tasty novel, and not like a cookbook. It begins in these terms: “The most expensive m’loukhia of the world! Four hours to advise his daughter and the girlfriend who watched the dish on the phone! Who did not experience such a situation? Jacqueline Bismuth tells it to us with humor. “Flat cheap side, it was ruined! It is in the telephone exchanges between Jacqueline and her daughter that the origin of the “cookbook” that she realized while thinking of all those who would like to feast with the true flavors of the Tunisian kitchen.

A long and meticulous work that is the occasion of memories and a meeting.

Initially, the author had a “dozen recipes” and when she decided to start a book, it did not seem impossible. In the end, it is a “notebook” of two hundred recipes she finally selected. These recipes are written in a spirit of transmission, not only of a kitchen but of a lifestyle and a story. Added to this is a meeting with the photographer appointed by the publisher, Céline Anaya Gautier, who is Franco-Peruvian. She is a young woman for whom Tunisia was a still unknown land that has finally become part of her personal history. His photographs, in dull and shimmering colors, alternate documentary and allegorical, analytic and abstract and contribute to make this book a photographic novel, too.

More than a recipe book, a culinary novel.

Jacqueline tells us stories. She was already putting family stories on paper and wanted to make a book she imagined as a parody of crime fiction. Thus was born “La Goulette, what a story, this story! “(Éditions Heliafric, 1999) who told his life, the safeguard of a sabir and, above all, an atmosphere, the nostalgia of an era that would fall into oblivion. The “cookbook” is a continuation of this struggle to keep this memory alive because “cooking is part of a culture” and “it’s heartbreaking to see people eating anything today and thinking that is Tunisian.

A way to resist contemporary acculturation.

We will understand the spirit of the book: it is about safeguarding a tradition and a heritage, it is a way to resist. It is to preserve an intangible heritage that is essential to our identities.

The cover of the book illustrates this statement: “A hand of blue Fatma of Tunisia” posed on a “red background of Tunisia” which makes appear in filigree the ceramic tiles of the kitchen of the writer.

To find out more: Tunisie Goumande «Jacqueline Bismuth’s Cookbook – Editions de la Martinière. 2017. Photographs by Céline Anaya Gautier.

E.L.17 / 05/2017 – Photographs. Amandine Lesage.


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