Who doesn’t love Fall cookbook release season? This one was particularly bountiful – there were SO many great titles that came out and and my living room coffee table AND my dining room table are both groaning under the weight of all my new books that I am slowly making my way through – easier said than done as I work on my promoting my very own book!
Today I’m sharing a handful of French-themed titles – perfect for the armchair traveller and/ or Francophile on your holiday gift list (or, you know, for yourself!).
Instantly French by Ann Mah
I don’t have an electric pressure cooker so I haven’t tried any of these recipes but Ann Mah, author of Mastering the Art of French Eating, is a trusted source for all things French so I’ve no doubt the recipes are fabulous. I watched her developing the recipes through what she shared on social media during the process and was fascinated as she took classic French dishes and made them accessible and do-able in much less time than you’d expect! In fact, the French have been using pressure cookers (cocottes-minutes) for many many years, well before its recent popularity so it’s actually not surprising that many French recipes lend themselves well to them. Mah says the electric pressure cooker has “allowed [her] to reclaim all the [classic French] recipes that felt too laborious to tackle”
From the publisher:
“The first electric pressure cooker book devoted specifically to French food, Instantly French! brings the scrumptious flavors of traditional French cuisine to your table—without the hours of slow cooking French food normally requires.
The delights of Instantly French! range from appetizers like eggplant caviar, pâté de campagne, and savory mini blue cheese cakes to soups like traditional French onion or an autumnal purée of butternut squash and chestnut. For main courses, there are classics like boeuf bourguignon, cassoulet, chicken tagine with preserved lemons, and blanquette de veau. Desserts feature poached pears, flourless chocolate cake, and crème brulée. And, all of these dishes can be made in a fraction of the time they usually take. Illustrated throughout with full color photos, Instantly French! is the essential guide to fast, delicious French cooking with your electric pressure cooker.”
This book makes me seriously want an electric pressure cooker – it’s all your fault Ann 😉
The Cook’s Atelier
This is stunning debut cookbook from mother and daughter American expats in Burgundy, Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini was released earlier this year. The duo co-founded The Cook’s Atelier, a famed French cooking school in the heart of the Burgundy wine-making region in 2008, where they draw on their backgrounds in food and wine, attracting visitors from all around the world with their approachable brand of French food.
The book takes you through a year in the life of the cooking school and includes recipes for all seasons of the year, themed around certain events that mark the seasons coming and going in France – the Beaujolais Nouveau release or a harvest celebration, for example. There is also a helpful “Cooking School” basics and a section on “Cooking Methods and Kitchen Rituals” – described as “building blocks to becoming a confident cook”. The recipes are written in a friendly, encouraging voice and are clear and easy to understand and the stories of life in France will have you captivated.
From the publisher:
“Featuring more than 100 market-inspired recipes and 300 exceptional photographs, this comprehensive reference is an extension of their cooking school, providing a refreshingly simple take on French techniques and recipes that every cook should know—basic butchery, essential stocks and sauces, pastry, dessert creams and sauces, and preserving, to name a few.
More than a practical introduction to classic French cooking, this richly illustrated volume is also a distinctively designed celebration of the French art of joie de vivre and an inspirational primer on adopting elements of the French lifestyle, no matter where you live.”
If you’ve ever dreamed of running away to France, running away to cooking school or both, this is the book for you. It’s equally at home on your kitchen counter as a companion to your forays into French food as it is on your coffee table where it will have you dreaming of France. Come for the recipes, stay for the stories and daydreams… It will remain on your bookshelf for years to come as a solid reference to the French classics.
Let’s Eat France
THIS is the book I wish I would have had when I was writing mine. The ultimate guide to French food, with recipes, history of dishes and fun (random) facts, this is like an adult’s version of a Richard Scarry book. The subtitle really tells you everything you need to know: 1,250 Specialty Foods, 375 Iconic Recipes, 350 Topics, 260 Personalities, Plus Hundreds of Maps, Charts, Tricks, Tips, and Anecdotes and Everything Else You Want to Know about the Food of France. It is a reference book par excellence that will be come my new “go to” for all facts about France.
From the publisher:
“There’s never been a book about food like Let’s Eat France! A book that feels literally larger than life, it is a feast for food lovers and Francophiles, combining the completist virtues of an encyclopedia and the obsessive visual pleasures of infographics with an enthusiast’s unbridled joy.”
This is part cookbook, part encyclopaedia, part graphic novel, part photo guide and it really does have something for every Francophile. There are recipes for French classics, profiles of French food luminaries, guides to the iconic foods of France (viennoiserie, pastries, charcuterie, bread, cheese, oysters, wine etc…) as well as random facts that will see you open the book to find one piece of information (in my case, the history of the croissant as research for my grade 4 French class) and emerge hours later having learned about a whole bunch of other things you never knew you needed to know! The publisher is correct when they say “It’s a book you’ll open anywhere—and never want to close.”
François-Régis Gaudry, the main author is a Paris-based French food critic and host of the show On va deguster on the French public radio channel Inter France, a food journalist at L’Express and the host of Très très bon on French television channel Paris Première. In this book, Gaudry (in his own words) “solicited the palates and expertise of dozens of friends, journalists, foot artisans, cooks, confectioners, academics, sommeliers, illustrators, photographers, comic strip creators and family members to create an eclectic, comprehensive and unique inventory of France’s edible heritage” and the 6lb (3.1kg) result really shows that depth of knowledge and expertise.
This book should be on the bookshelves and coffee tables of anyone even vaguely interested in French food. A fascinating read that will keep you entertained long after the holiday decorations are packed away and one you’ll reach for again and again for knowledge, a recipe, or just for pleasure!
Please note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received copies of Instantly French and Let’s Eat France for review purposes from the publishers. I purchased The Cook’s Atelier for myself. I was not asked to write about them and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own
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