Cooking the Books with Gilly Smith

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Sylvie Bigar: Cassoulet Confessions

Season 21, Ep. 1


This week, Gilly meets travel writer, Sylvie Bigar whose article about the rich history of the South West French cassoulet inspired a personal investigation into her often toxic family history and her own love affair with food. Cassoulet Confessions is a food memoir which takes us deep into where a love of food can come from, however dark the path.


A New Yorker brought up in a 'mini Downton Abbey' on Lake Geneva, Sylvie's story is of class, nostalgia and dysfunctional family life. As we follow her across the history of both family and what she finds under the crust of the mystical cassoulet, we get a tale of two sittings – the folklore and status of the cassoulet itself, and a potent dish of family secrets and hidden heritage. 

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