THE FRENCH COOK: souffles (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128
pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3612-0, $21.99 US hard covers) is by Greg Patent, a Bear Award winning author for 2002, a blogger, and radio host. This is the third in a new series on French cuisine, here dealing with the basics of souffles: mainly how to beat eggs and how to create the sauces. There are photos and step-by-step techniques. The basic souffles are here (hot, cold, sweet, savoury, molded, unmolded) plus more and some variations are noted. The book is set up as a primer for beginners. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: leek and pancetta souffle; fennel and salmon; chocolate; vanilla; fresh fruit; almond and praline.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
27.BUVETTE; the pleasure of good food (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014, 286 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-2552-2, $30 US hard covers) is by Jody Williams, chef and owner of Buvette, a top restaurant in NYC. She recently opened a second Buvette in Paris. With some log rolling headed by Alice Waters and Mario Batali, the book is a pretty good account of a restaurant's life in the world of French and Italian bistro cooking. She makes and serves the classic dishes in a book arranged by time of day (mornings, afternoons, aperitifs, evening, sweets). There is a chapter on beverages that deals with cocktails and covers some French wine regions, but otherwise there are no wine recommendations for the courses. Her chapter on larders discusses crème fraiche, vinaigrette, herbes de provence, pistou, pickles, rouille, and about a dozen more. Try oxtail marmalade, leeks in vinaigrette, salmon rillettes, pate de campagne, duck confit, or almond toffee. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
39.SIMPLE FRENCH FOOD. 40th Anniversary Ed. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1974, 1992, 2014, 455 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-24220-3, $24.99 US hard covers) is by the late Richard Olney, one of the better passionate writers of French cuisine. I remember reviewing this book in 1974 for the American Library Association, but over the years I had misplaced it. Olney began with "The French Menu Cookbook", criticized by some for being overly complicated. He was persuaded to come up with a "simple" book. This latest reissue comes with the original Foreward by James Beard (1974), the Introduction by Patricia Wells (1992), and a New Foreward by Mark Bittman (2014). There is also unabashed log rolling from Jacques Pepin and Alice Waters. He opens with some thoughts about French cooking, wine, breads, and then moves on to courses by ingredients. He also did all of the drawings in this book. As Wells says, "Olney shares with us the tactile, aromatic, visual joys of food." His reclusive ways belied his editing of all 27 volumes of the Time Life Good Cook series. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 92.
42.LA MERE BRAZIER; the mother of modern French cooking (Rizzoli, 2014; distr. Random House Canada, 272 pages, ISBN 978-0-8478-4096-0, $35 US hard covers) is by Eugenie Brazier who opened La Mere Brazier in 1921 in Lyon. She was awarded multiple Michelin stars. Her book was first published in 1977 in France (just as she died), but here it is in North America, available in English for the first time. Most of the recipes here come from her niece's husband, Roger Garnier, who was Brazier's chef for 20 years. The rest come from taped transcriptions in 1975. This is, in all senses, a Gallic memoir. There are photos, line drawings and classic menus (with page references). Paul Bocuse lends an informal foreward. Arrangement is by ingredient (eggs, fish, poultry, meat) or by course (apps, first courses, baking, desserts, butters). There is also glossary of cooking terms. This is classic French cooking, over 300 recipes, with reminiscences: beurrecks a la turque, ecrevisses a la nage, langouste au ricard, poulet saute a la provencale. Regional wine recommendations for each dish are made. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.