I’m obsessive. All my life, when something interested me, I became obsessed with it. I learned all I could about it. I lived it!

I’ve been obsessive about food as long as I can remember. For most of my adult life, my interest was Chinese cookery—its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture. Besides learning all I could about Chinese food and culture, I became involved with Chinese-American organizations and studied Chinese-American food, history, and culture. I collected English-language Chinese cookbooks and eventually amassed one of the largest collections in the world. (The books are now part of the Pond-Hertzmann Collection at the University of California at Davis.)

Then one fall, during an eight-day trip to Paris—my first—I had an epiphany. I didn’t know it at the time. I came home and continued my old ways. In the following year I had the opportunity to go to Europe a number of times for business, and once or twice I wound up in Paris. By then I was interested in French food, but I still hadn’t learned too much. So I signed up to spend a week the following February at a small auberge in the village of Sorges, in the Dordogne, learning about truffles and foie gras. Two of the important things I learned was that I wouldn’t be able to proceed with my education unless I spent a lot of time in France and learned to at least read some French. In the following two years, I started doing just that.

As I was obsessive with Chinese cookery, I am now obsessive with French cookery—its preparation, materials, history, politics, and culture. This web site is part of that obsession.

I hope you find the information found in these pages both helpful and entertaining. I welcome both your comments and criticisms. As I learn more about French cookery, I will share what I learn in these pages. Thank you for visiting à la carte and please come back often.

Download a recording of an interview of me conducted by Evan Kleiman of KCRW’s Good Food on June 30th, 2007.

©2017 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.