Simple French Cooking: Recipes from Our Mothers' Kitchens

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9780304359974: Simple French Cooking: Recipes from Our Mothers' Kitchens

"To all mothers: Those queens of our hearts, whose simple and generous cooking inspires and sustains us!"--Georges Blanc. Even the greatest cooks had to start somewhere--and for famed restaurateur Georges Blanc, it was the kitchen of his grandmother, an illustrious and well-known chef herself. Now Blanc presents 10 French "mothers," professionals who lovingly maintain and guard the country's classic culinary tradition. They come from every province, and each reveals the secrets of her regional French cuisine so you too can easily create the same time-honored dishes at home. Atmospheric photography captures the essence and style of French cookery: the old-fashioned pots in which the food simmers and bakes; the freshness of its vegetables, the richness of the country patés, the crispness of a perfectly baked duck with olives, and of course, the perfection of its presentation. Among the irresistible temptations: a beautifully made omelette with artichokes; a gorgeous salade Niçoise; sautéed frog's legs with herbs; Coq au Vin; and a heavenly orange cake flavored with Grand Marnier. You won't need any other book on traditional French cookery--this has it all.

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Review:

Simple French Cooking reveals the secrets of 10 French women chefs who earned the nickname les mères, or "mothers," in central France in the early 20th century. The simple, honest cuisine of these formidable women has inspired generations of chefs. Here readers will find artfully simple recipes for creating the true flavors of France in their own home kitchens. Coauthors chef Georges Blanc--awarded three Michelin stars, Gault et Millaut Chef of the Year, and grandson of Mère Blanc, whose signature Bresse Chicken in a Creamy Sauce titillated her customers' palates--and French food authority Coco Jobard tell the stories of les mères in fascinating biographies that offer a glimpse into the remarkable lives of these women and introduce a variety of French regional cooking styles.

The bulk of the book is made up of more than 100 traditional recipes. Classics like Onion Soup Gratinée, Beef with Carrots, Coq au Vin, and Grand Marnier Soufflé are well represented. Adventurous dishes like Artichoke Hearts with Foie Gras, Calf's Sweetbreads with Asparagus, Partridge Pie with Black Salsify, and Pink Praline Ice Cream round out the book. Crimini Mushroom Salad with Mussels melds the delicate earthiness of tiny white mushrooms with apple vinegar, shallots, tomatoes, and mussels. Mère Crouzier's Wild Duck Surprise daringly combines fish and mussels with duck hearts and livers to stuff the bird. The result is delicate, delicious, and truly surprising.

Classic photos of les mères add to the charm of the book, while beautiful photos of the finished dishes are enticing. Those interested in culinary history will be especially delighted by Simple French Cooking, but anyone interested in learning to cook the simple and honest cuisine of central France will find it a welcome guide. --Robin Donovan

About the Author:

Georges Blanc, celebrated 3 star chef, was first introduced to cooking by his Grandmother, the famous Mere Blanc. He continues to prepare her traditional recipes at his restaurant in France and has written a number of books on her culinary delights. Coco Fobard is a food stylist with a real passion for food. She is a successful writer, having written a number of books on French cuisine and she regularly contributes to national magazines and newspapers.

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Blanc, Georges, Jobard, Coco
Published by Cassell (2001)
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