I finally finished reading "The Saucier's Apprentice" by Bob Spitz. I bought the book a few months ago from Kinokuniya and started reading it a couple of weeks ago. The book is a travelogue about a guy who travels through France and Italy visiting various cooking schools. They're all about his experiences and the book is scattered with some really good recipes I can't wait to try. Sauces, pastas, and entrees. I love cooking with tomato. That's a fact. And tomato is a staple in Italian cooking and also French.
More than half of the book is set in France. After that, the author travels to Italy. I personally prefer the Italian parts of the book, but I guess that's only because perhaps I can relate to that more since I've been there. Or because I'm more accustomed to Italian food than French food.
It's a good book to read especially if you want to see the differences there are in "cooking schools".. the variety of forms they come in, from those that are simply demonstrations to one-on-one sessions, to those in peoples' homes to those which take place in posh restaurant kitchens.
Reading the book made me want to travel all over France and Italy. Taking my own time, a nice slow pace, exploring, and doing whatever I feel like spontaneously..