Parisian Home Cooking: Conversations, Recipes, And Tips From The Cooks And Food Merchants Of Paris

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9780688138684: Parisian Home Cooking: Conversations, Recipes, And Tips From The Cooks And Food Merchants Of Paris

In Parisian Home Cooking, Michael Roberts offers a look at how real people shop, cook, and eat in the City of Lights. The side streets and markets of Paris come alive with anecdotes about traditional recipes and the daily shopping. Each chapter takes a trip to a different part of the market, with descriptions of the shopkeepers and their goods. And more than 150 recipes document the meals that many Parisians know by heart and consider their daily fare.

This isn't fancy restaurant cooking that is difficult to duplicate in the home kitchen, but rather wholesome, easy-to-make recipes, most of which take less than thirty minutes to prepare. Take your pick from Smothered Duck Legs and Apples, Baked Tomatoes with Pesto, and Stuffed Cod with Asparagus. Indulge yourself in Lamb and Red Bean Stew, Tuna Braised in Sherry with Rosemary, or Parisian Bread Pudding. From cover to cover, Parisian Home Cooking is a delicious way to bring a bit of everyday Paris into your own home.

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Review:

Picture for a moment a package of salmon steaks wrapped in plastic, labeled with a price sticker, and put out on display with the rest of the shrink-wrapped seafood in your neighborhood giant supermarket. Or for that matter, picture yourself racing through the supermarket, getting the food shopping over with as quickly and as sanely as possible. This is the opposite of Michael Roberts' Parisian Home Cooking, a cookbook as much about attitude as actual food.

Through artful recipes and engaging street photography, Roberts brings to life a culinary Paris found in private homes, a cuisine with a different sense of rhythm than anything American. Lunches are longer. Dinners are later. Shopping for the best ingredients imaginable is an interpersonal experience to be savored. "The charm of a French meal," Roberts writes, "is their insistence on quality ingredients and balanced flavor, in respecting those ingredients by not overcomplicating the cooking...."

To take this book to heart in an American city, Roberts suggests we "make marketing an adventure." To this end he finds himself making full use of ethnic markets and groceries, buying fish from Japanese markets, fresh poultry in Chinese markets, and so on. "The Indian grocery is where I buy chickpea flour for making socca, a Niçoise crepe.... Don't think that you need access to a French market or gourmet emporium to cook French food."

That said, prepare for the likes of Senegalese Salt Cod Fritters, Cream of Sorrel Soup, Escarole Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette, Green Beans and Morels, Scallops with Noodles and Basil, Turkey Cutlets with Sage and Lemon Butter, Braised Rabbit with Mustard and Calvados, Roasted Turnips with Sage, and Spiced Poached Peaches.

Roberts divides his book into the traditional courses of a French meal, starting with little things to nibble and encourage an appetite, and ending with dessert. Traveling the pages in between takes the casual visitor deep into the heart of Parisian markets, then back home to a small kitchen filled with the heart-healing aromas of a simple, divine meal, Parisian style. --Schuyler Ingle

About the Author:

Michael Roberts is the fashion and style director of Vanity Fair. He served as fashion director at The New Yorker from 1997-2006 as well as the fashion editor of The Sunday Times, style director and art director of Tatler, design director of British Vogue, and Paris editor of Vanity Fair. He has contributed his photographs and illustrations to numerous publications, among them Vanity Fair; L'Uomo Vogue, British, Italian, French, American, Chinese, Brazilian, and Japanese Vogue; The Sunday Times; and The Independent on Sunday. He is also the author of four books of illustrations: The Jungle ABC, Mumbo Jumbo, Snowman in Paradise, and The Snippy World of New Yorker Fashion Artist Michael Roberts.

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