As for everything, it is necessary to distinguish the main permanent features common to an area, to its possibilities of production, to its capacities of transformation, to its consumer habits. The County of Nice, in this domain, is connected with the Mediterranean group with rough rainfall over short periods, which forbids pasture production; it concentrates its breeding on goats and ovine races, a modest production of vegetables because dependent on an irrigation reduced to the seasonal capacities of sources and cisterns. The autosufficiency is the rule, the excess is the exception, except for oil. Therefore, food remains frugal: fresh vegetables from domestic gardens in spring - summer, dried vegetables in winter; sheep, lamb, games (thrushes, wild boars, hares), hens, rabbits, form the main part of the meat-based contributions. Butter being unknown, it is olive oil, or more rarely nut oil, that supplies lipidic needs for seasoning, cooking and consumption. As in all the "poor" cookings (which is not pejorative), local preparations are going to develop at most the capacity to make plenty, delicious and varied, with few. If simplicity remains the main word, dullness and bareness would not fit at all.

Paul RAYBAUT, Autoconsumption and traditional society. Cultural models and social dynamics in a valley of the County of Nice. Paris, EHESS, 1981.


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