This may surprise you, but I don't follow many other bloggers. I just never seem to find the time to keep up with my RSS feed, so I've paired it down to what I consider the essentials, Smitten Kitchen, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, Food in Jars, and of course David Lebovitz make the list, with a few others that rotate in and out depending on my current interests. Lebovitz first came across my radar when he released his book The Perfect Scoop in 2010, which couldn't have come out at a better time considering I had just bought an ice cream maker and was in need of some inspiration. Since then I've been a regular follower of his blog; I love his writing style, his recipes, and the stories he tells about adjusting to life in France.
When I originally requested access to the e-galley of My Paris Kitchen I was promptly turned down, which as a writer is something I'm becoming more and more used to. Much like life as an artist, life as a writer is full of rejection [insert dramatic sigh here.] Fortunately, my disappointment of facing rejection yet again didn't last long, a few weeks after my initial request Ten Speed Press granted me access. I have to admit, when I saw the notification email I went a little fan girl. It's entirely possible that I jumped up and down and may even have squealed a bit.
Don't judge me too harshly for that.
This is one of the few cookbooks that I've sat down and read from cover to cover. More often than not I get bored with long blocks of text in a cookbook and find myself flipping through to have a peak at the recipes. That wasn't the case with this book. As I turned the pages I found myself nodding in agreement time and time again with something the author said. My reading of the introduction went something like this:
David: My own cooking is influenced by where I've lived, and where I am now.
Me: nod, nod... oh me too! I draw such huge inspiration from the places I've lived.
David: Recipes are guidelines, starting points for cooks to diverge from.
Me: nod, nod... I couldn't agree more!
David: We've become more and more dependent on recipes to tell us each and every detail, so we don't have to think for ourselves. Or we've somehow become afraid to trust our own instincts.
Me: nod, nod... Sad, but true, especially when it comes to young cooks who don't yet have the confidence in the kitchen that is only gained by time. I've often felt that people should learn to trust their sense of taste more, but it can be such a hard thing to do.
By the time the introduction was over my neck was stiff from all the nodding, I was already half in love with this book, and I hadn't even gotten to the recipes yet. While the book includes many of the expected classics such as Soupe à l’oignon and Coq au Vin, it is so much more than a cookbook. You'll quickly find yourself transported to Paris, at least in mind if not body, as David tells story after story about his experiences in France. I especially enjoyed hearing about shopping for ingredients in the markets, pastry shops, and bakeries, but also how different life in France can be from what we know in America. If you are interested in France or modern French cuisine then I suggest picking up a copy of this book, it won't disappoint, and the recipes are fabulous.
In case you were wondering, here are some of the recipes that caught my eye.
Onion tart (pissaladière)
Leeks w/ mustard-bacon vinaigrette (poireaux vinaigrette à la moutarde et aux lardons)
Fresh herb omelette (omelette aux fines herbes)
White bean, sausage, duck confit casserole (cassoulet)
Scalloped potatoes w/ blue cheese and roasted garlic (gratin de pommes de terre au bleu et à l'ailconfit)
Green beans with snail butter (haricots verts au beurred'escargot)
Salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse (mousse au chocolat au caramel au beurresalé)
Whipped cream (crème chantilly)
Read more about the making of My Paris Kitchen over on David's blog. His post gives an in-depth behind-the-scenes accounting of what it took from start to finish to get this book on the shelves.
I'm traveling right now, so I won't be posting photos from the cookbook to my instagram feed like I normally do. I will be posting plenty of photos from my time in France, so make sure to stop by and check them out.
Where to Purchase
Amazon - My Paris Kitchen
This book was sent to me for review by Ten Speed Press. As always, all opinions are my own.
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