Produced by filmmaker Aileen Bordman and garden writer Derek Fell, the book includes 60 recipes linked to Monet's two-acre kitchen garden near his home at Giverny, France. Between the covers are lots of luscious details about the vegetables he grew, along with gorgeous photos and descriptions of the house interiors, the gardens and the artist's extraordinary lifestyle.
“Our goal was to bring Monet's kitchen garden back to life," Aileen tells me. "His desire for fresh garden produce extended beyond the flavor and health benefits that they could provide. His need to cultivate a kitchen garden, plant seeds and work the soil with his fingers allowed him to connect with nature in a spiritual way, feed his soul and see beauty oblivious to others.”
Immersed in the world of Claude Monet since 1980, Aileen has more than 35 years of experience at the property in Giverny. Her first visit there was in 1980, when the museum first opened. Her mother, Helen Rappel Bordman, was one of the handful of Americans responsible for the renaissance of the home and garden, which had fallen into complete ruin.
In 2005, Aileen wrote and produced of the documentary film Monet's Palate: A Gastronomic View from the Garden, which was broadcast in the US through American Public Television to all 350 PBS stations...and was re-released this year. It features Meryl Streep, legendary casino operator and art patron Steve Wynn, and chefs Alice Waters, Anne Willan, Roger Vergé, Daniel Boulud and Michel Richard. It screened in Cannes and New York and was featured during the six-month "Monet's Garden" exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden in New York in 2012. The 58-minute film is available on DVD here.
The book brings the farm-to-table tradition--lived passionately by Monet--into the 21st century, with recipes inspired by his cooking journals and the places he visited. And of course, by his garden's abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables: zucchini, cherry tomatoes, radishes, pearl onions, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, rosemary, mint and more.
Aileen's partner in the book project, Derek Fell, is the author of The Magic of Monet's Garden and Secret's of Monet's Garden. One of America's most widely published garden writers, his titles on gardening, travel and art have sold more than 2.5 million copies. He divides his time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Sanibel Island, Florida.
The book has been earning lovely reviews...along with praise from big names in the food and gardening worlds. "There's no thrill that compares to growing one’s own food," says journalist, cooking teacher and author Patricia Wells. "Planting, caring, harvesting and bringing the treasures to the table. Monet’s Palate Cookbook provides all the inspiration anyone needs to go out and dig, plant, absorb the joys that soil offers each of us. Whether a garden novice or seasoned expert, this book offers a wealth of advice and recipes destined to improve all of our lives.”
Meryl Streep wrote the foreword and the recipes were beautifully photographed by Steven Rothfeld.
Published May 1st by Gibbs Smith, the hardcover has 176 pages in full color and 60-plus recipes. It lists for about $30 and you can buy it on Amazon here ...or direct from the author here.
To enter to win a copy of the book, just leave a comment below. Tell us about your garden. your connection to Monet, your passion for the Impressionists or anything else you care to share. Be sure to leave your email so we can reach you if you win; signing in with your Google account is not enough. Winners will be chosen and alerted towards the end of May.
For more info about the book, click here.
To reach Aileen directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claude Monet's Gardens at Giverny are open daily until November 1st, 2015. To visit, all the info is here.
Photos: (1) The new book comes out this week. How can you not want a copy? (2) Tulips, irises and water lilies in Monet's garden; today some 200,000 different flower varieties are rotated regularly by head gardener James Priest and his team, which numbers as many as 30 people working daily, year round. Always on the look-out for rare varieties, Monet bought young plants at great expense. "All my money goes into my garden," he said. But also: "I am in raptures." (3, 4) Two dishes from the book: moules marinière and chilled asparagus salad with olives. (5) Aileen shot this Bowl of Beauty peony at Giverny last year.