Wells cookbook – hardcover vs. paperback

We recently finished savouring a public library copy of the hard cover version of Patricia Wells’ cookbook At Home in Provence. Relatively early on in the reading, we knew we had to get our own copy and as I read the library copy, I carefully noted the page numbers of the recipes we would be trying.

The other day, our very own copy of the paperback version arrived in the mail. All the page numbers I had so carefully written down were virtually useless. So I got the hard cover out of the library again to note the new page numbers. The paperback is very very different. The words appear to be the same. But the beautiful photographs that went with almost every page are not there! There are two inserts of many of the photos. But it’s just not the same.

When I’m reading about how to make Gratin Dauphinois, I want to see the delectable picture of the gratin on the facing page. Likewise with Barcelona Grilled Artichokes. In the paperback, there aren’t even references in the text to where the photos can be seen. If the photo is there at all! Several are missing from the paperback version. All of the lovely market pictures have been left out. And those of Wells in her kitchen are also omitted.

But here’s the really upsetting thing. As I was leafing through our brand new paperback (and I wasn’t being rough!), the spine broke! Already! Yet the much older public library copy of the hardcover version has been read and thumbed through by many people many times. The binding still seems quite secure. They JUST don’t make things the way they used to!

Recommendation: Pay the extra and get the hardcover version. Do get this book if you don’t already have it. It’s wonderful.