Christian de Rivière & Charles-Henry de Valbray
It’s a Guy Thing. Christian de Rivière and Charles-Henry de Valbray are lifelong friends, who share a love of a good dinner table and everything that goes with it – the conviviality, the sociability, the laughter and love (mainly) of family and friends.
Some time ago, they converted that passion into a couple of successful books, published in France.
Although professional cuisine is, rightly or wrongly, still dominated by men, the domestic kitchen is still pretty much a female domain in contemporary France. Their first book, Les jules aux fourneaux (the inspiration for our loose idiomatic translation Oven Buddies), was an examination of some of their male friends' favourite recipes.
The selected recipes vary in complexity and difficulty. All readily achievable, but some would be quite tricky for an amateur cook. But what does not vary is the warmth and intensity of the anecdotes which precede each recipe, garnered from male cooks ranging in age from 12 to 74. Each dish has a rich, and sometimes moving, memory attached to it. The food does not just taste good, it means something to the person preparing it. Sitting around a dinner table is a social as well as a culinary experience, after all.
We feel it’s high time that the Oven Buddies offered their art de vivre (et de cuisiner) to the English-speaking world.