2022: A Long Look Back: A Sentimental Journey of an American Growing up in France
In my first book: A Long Look Back: A Sentimental Journey of an American Growing up in France, readers will find an exciting and enjoyable portrayal of my life in France as a young boy in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a perspective often combined with beautiful family meals and always paired with delicious wines. My passion and deep love for France is made undeniably clear. Readers will be signing on to an entertaining, frequently humorous, sentimental journey set first in our country house tucked away a small village along the rugged, beautiful Emerald Coast of Brittany in the western part of France. We then speed up (after all we are going to Paris) and Neuilly s/Seine, where our story really has its roots, and then conclude with a collection of unique travel and food experiences when, as I meander down from Lyon (culinary ground-zero in France) to the Côte d’Azur. You are immersed in my description of the vivid blue Mediterranean, the long seaside walks, and then being spoiled by an incredible vista, teased with local menus and glorious regional cuisine. A separate section is devoted to a small selection of delicious, traditional French recipes. How can one talk or write about France without fully appreciating and immersing oneself in its cuisine? A Long Look Back is an undeniably warm-hearted, nostalgic and tender journey into a France of yesteryear.
"A delightfully sentimental look at growing up in post-war Paris and Brittany in the 1950s as seen through the eyes of a young American and his family and recounted with wonderful flair and genuine affection for the French way of life. Numerous mouth-watering recipes and wine pairings add to the overall rich experience of this autobiography.” RJ July 2022
A Travelogue through France
"Richard Rogers has written a delightful tale of his years growing up in France, and returning time and time again. Rogers covers history, culture and the cuisine of France in an easy read that will be enjoyed whether you are intimately familiar with France or thinking about going for the first time. His detailed descriptions of food and dining throughout the various regions of France will certainly inspire you to visit France, or at least to seek out a serious French restaurant if you are lucky enough to have one near you. I understand that Richard Rogers is working on a second book, which I am anxiously looking forward to." DBW April 2023
A Love of France and Food
"The author’s love of France comes through in short stories of growing up as part of an ex-pat family. The stories tell you of childhood memories, experiences as an adult, and a few daydreams. If you need a primer on food in various departments of France, it’s here plus some recipes full of tasty calories. This is a book that you can sit down and read a little bit at a time to satisfy the Francophile in you." LW April 2023
"I just finished it a few days ago. Great humor as well as descriptive content about the areas/wine/food. Love the recipes and would have loved to have met your housekeeper/nanny chef." TH, January 2023.
Lovely Memoir of Childhood in France
"I greatly enjoyed reading this memoir of an American boy and his family growing up in France in the 1950s. The evocation of his “happy place” in Bretagne, where they owned a house and spent summers, was detailed and evocative. Best of all were the descriptions of the meals that Rogers remembers from his childhood. He even includes recipes!" JC December 2022.
2023: A Foreign Port of Entry: A Collection of Travel Adventures from Asia to the Heart of Africa
My latest book brings a different perspective and an added richness that inevitably comes from having a global background—growing up in France, Belgium, and deep in the very heart of Africa. Those years were tremendously impactful. In this book, I lean on ten of my 26 countries, on five continents, with over 75 visits. All in seven years. I depart from my travel stories, only briefly, to discuss my formative years in the Congo—the Heart of Darkness (to quote Joseph Conrad.) It's an essential journey for me to write about.
As a writer, I am passionate about the visual, cultural, and historical richness of cities such as Hanoi and Cape Town, Istanbul, and Cairo. I want my stories to have an added dimension with cuisine from far-flung cultures, which remains essential in shaping many of my stories. The richness and totality of those experiences inevitably translate into meaningful, colorful anecdotes stories, many of which have yet to be written, and adventures that have yet to be shared.
The Places I Write About
I am lucky indeed having been born and raised and schooled abroad in such interesting and diverse places as France, Belgium, and deep in the heart of Africa. As an adult, I have traveled on business to so many places in the world, enjoyed the sights and sounds and of course, the wonderful foods. It is this accumulated richness as well as the people who play a vital and continuing role in my writing. For that I am truly thankful and as an author, I could not ask for more. In the Gallery section, I have included a few choice photos drawn from my first book, A Long, Look Back. Those who have already read my book will recognize the photos and put them in their proper context, be it Paris, Brittany, or the South of France. I look forward to your comments and insights. My second book, A Foreign Port of Entry, takes the reader on a dizzying trip across India, the Middle East, Turkey, Southeast Asia, and China with a backward look at my formative years in the Congo, deep in the heart of Africa.
Future Books, Story Ideas and More
Book Three (Spring 2024) I return to France (of course) with more amusing stories and insights. I add more delicious recipes with a little more butter, cream, and Cognac for good measure. Unsurprisingly, I was a little chubby child with gourmet meals almost every night. I have added a few crazy stories, like when I foolishly almost remarried. To France with love, yours truly, versus the administrative state? Do we think our bureaucracy is a mess? I offer, as state's evidence, the bureaucracy of France. It is skilled at wearing you down, and it usually succeeds. Other interesting stories include a dining experience beyond belief at an old-line restaurant. I am working on a sentimental piece, "We Will Always Have Paris." Yes, I find myself knee-deep in sentimentality and unapologetic, especially when it's about a city that will always be near my heart.
From France, we depart for Barcelona, Spain, mixing it up with an ever-festive crowd packed along Las Ramblas. This is one crazy city that never sleeps! From there, we spend some time in the beautiful Andalusian region of Spain and perhaps we have lunch in the shadows of the Roman ruins at Baelo Claudia, dating back some 2000 years ago. Then I must insist we go to Madrid where I have an appointment with a raging bull at the Plaza de Toros. Not for the faint of heart. Later, a fantastic flamenco evening at a little cabaret I know, tucked away on a side street off la Gran Via, Madrid's most famous street. "Shop 'til you drop," I believe is the expression.
From Madrid, we make our way to Lisbon (a passionate city I fell in love with.) One evening, I climbed a little side street and found a wonderful family restaurant with authentic Portuguese food. The owner took a shine to me; what can I say? She has remarkably good taste.
On to Belgium. The city of Antwerp (always near and dear to my heart) is a fascinating seaport city I know quite well. It is filled with centuries of history. Who knows what international intrigue goes on along the docks late at night, especially during those Cold War days? It truly was spy vs. spy, and I suspect some things have not changed. There are all sorts of little haunts, bars, and seedy clubs near the docks frequented by all sorts of characters, some right from a tanker or cargo ship from anywhere in the world. Keep your wallet close to you. Then, on to Brussels, a city I know from having spent my final year in a private school just a few miles from the battleground of Waterloo. Stand aside for Emperor Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington.
Finally, we go to Bucharest, that is, if the lights remain on long enough. I have no idea why I went there in January on business; it was just a perfect time of year with the snow, freezing rain, and penetrating chill. Business discussions at my customer's office had me bundled up in a coat, scarf, and gloves, and my feet were like ice cubes. Welcome to Bucharest. Yes, the lights will come back on. Eventually.
Book Four (2025), which seems like years away, I write about the Americas with pieces of fiction set in the continental United States and adventures in Mexico and countries in South America, including Panama, Chile, and Brazil. These stories are based on my travel experiences, personal insight, and, of course, the food.
Please contact me with your thoughts and suggestions, which are most welcomed and will be gladly included anonymously.