A sweet, leisurely exploration of the life of Les Arques (population 159), a hilltop village in a remote corner of France, untouched by the modern era. It is a story of a dying village's struggle to survive, of a dead artist whose legacy begins its rebirth, and of chef Jacques Ratier and his wife, Noelle, whose bustling restaurant - the village's sole business - has helped ensure its future.
The author set out to explore the inner workings of a French restaurant kitchen but ended up stumbling onto a wider, much richer world. Whether uncovering the darker secrets of making foie gras, hearing a chef confess his doubts about the Michelin star system, or absorbing the lore of the land around a farmhouse kitchen table after a boar hunt, Michael Sanders learned that life in Les Arques was anything but sleepy. Through the eyes of the author and his family, the reader enters this world, discovers its still vibrant traditions of food, cooking, and rural living, and comes to know the village's history, sharing along the way an American family's adventures as they find their way in a place that is sometimes lonely, often wondrous, and always fascinating.