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THE FOOD IN THIS BOOK has been culled from all the corners of France, but I have done little to prevent the spirit from veering sharply toward the south, not only because the flavors of Provençal food tend to be direct and uncomplicated, reflecting the sharp clarity of the light and the landscape, but also, in particular, because for the last ten years my shopping has been done in Mediterranean markets, my day-to-day cooking inclines to respect the local formulas, the tables I share are Provençal, and perhaps most of all because a certain intimacy has bred an uneasy sense of the gentle dissipation of regional culinary traditions and the need to succor them. The internationalizing influence is not unique to Provence—or to France. My alarm is merely greater.