219 of 226 people found the following review helpful
There is not much that I can add to the reviews already written, but as an admitted Francophile, I wanted to put my 2 cents in. As all have stated, this is an incredible book, not just of French cooking, but a slight peek into the French way of living and thinking. Obviously, Ina loves Paris, and all that is French, and you get that feeling as she deviates from strictly recipes, and goes into the various nuances of French life.
Those nuances are scattered throughout the book and peppered (no pun intended) in the introductions to her recipes. The photography and food styling is excellent as usual, and as long as you aren't expecting a Jacque Pepin or Julia Child style of French cooking, then you will enjoy Ina's more simple, peasant-style fare. She talks about the visual preparation of the French table and all the ways that you can make your dining experience as simple, fresh, and carefree as the dishes. And for those who are fellow "Parisians", she guides you through the streets and markets of Paris and gives you a tour of sorts, of that magical city.
All about French wines
Blioni with Smoked Salmon
Cheese Puffs (Gougeres....ummmmmmmm!!!)
Radishes with Salt and Herbed Butter
French Table Settings
Blue Cheese Souffle
Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
Pissaladiere (a French pizza of sorts)
Goat Cheese Tart
Scrambled Eggs with Truffles
Herbed Baked Eggs
Spinach in Pastry Puff
Mussels in White Wine
Seafood Platter (with mustard sauce, cocktail sauce, mignonette sauce)
SOUP and SALAD:
All about French flowers
Winter Squash Soup
Provencal Veggie Soup (and homemade chicken stock, and pistou)
Seafood Stew (and seafood stock)
Lentil Sausage Soup
Celery Root Remoulade
Endive, Pear, and Roquefort Salad
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
Warm Mushroom Salad
Green Salad Vinaigrette
All about French cookware (this was a blast; will make you want to visit!)
Lemon Chicken with Coutons
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (this was very mild in flavor)
Chicken with Morels
Loin of Pork with Green Peppercorns
Filet of Beef au Poivre
Steak with Bearnaise Sauce
Veal Chops with Roquefort Butter
Roast Lamb with White Beans
Rack of Lamb Persillade
Roasted Striped Bass
Salmon with Lentils
About French cooking classes
Asparagus with Hollandaise
Tomato Rice Pilaf
Brussels Sprouts Lardons
French String Beans
Sauteed Wild Mushrooms
Potato Celery Root Puree
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Herbed New Potatoes
About French cheese
Plum Raspberry Crumble
Lemon Meringue Tart (and lemon filling)
Coeur a la Creme with Raspberries
Baba au Rhum (rum-soaked doughy pastries with shipped cream; sooo good!)
Elephant Ears (very light, flaky, and delicate)
Ice Cream Bombe
Plum Cake Tatin
Chocolate Orange Mousse
Peaches in Sauternes
Coconut Madeleines (dip the ends in chocolate!)
Profiteroles (the ultimate elegant French dessert!)
French ingredients to try
French cookware you'll want to have
Going to Paris? Then here's your guide with every place you'll want to visit to make your journey magical and complete (the best part, Ina!!!)
Credits and Index
327 of 351 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2005
The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (I own all of them) can always be counted on if what you seek is a guaranteed "hit." Ina Garten's new book contains some of those. But, it seems to me that the book was rushed to press, because this book contains numerous oversights and glitches. I am a very experienced and confident home cook, and the "Ile Flottante" (floating island) recipe, for example, had me on my knees in despair. The intro assures us that it will be "worth every minute it takes to make." I lost track of the minutes it took to make this thing. The directions for making the caramel were so vague that my first attempt resulted in what I later learned is known as "crystallized" sugar. So, I turned to my faithful "Joy of Cooking" for clearer directions on how to make caramel (it's enormously nuanced, and definitely doesn't belong in a book that calls itself "easy.") Then, the meringues were supposed cook in 20 minutes. I have a brand new oven and an independent over themometer, and these took a good 40 minutes. The recipe says to "set aside" the caramel, which you later pour over the merigues--well, my caramel sat for about an hour, and when I went to pour it it was hard as a rock. Etc. Etc. She writes that her Moroccan Couscous is easy to reheat--but fails to explain how to reheat it without drying it out. The salmon with lentils recipe fails to mention when you add the lentils. Do you see what I mean? There are numerous oversights of this nature, making this a perilous book for any but an experienced cook. Glossy photos and a $35.00 sticker price cannot overcome sloppy basics. You can do better, Ina!
215 of 263 people found the following review helpful
Ina Garten has given us a new book on `cuisine bourgeois', and one immediately wonders if the world really needs another book on everyday French cooking, since we already have great works from Julia Child and Elizabeth David, excellent works from Patricia Wells and Richard Olney, and hundreds of others, including an excellent volume from Garten's mentor, teacher Lydie Marshall, author of the excellent book `A Passion for My Provence'. The questions become doubly appropriate with the recent appearance of Food Network colleague Tony Bourdain's really excellent book of bistro recipes, `Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook'. To complete the picture of my general skepticism about book is the fact that Ms. Garten's book lists at a higher price than Bourdain's book, yet it has substantially fewer recipes and none of Monsieur Bourdain's really excellent tutorials on cooking technique. Yet, here is the key to Ms. Garten's enterprise and audience.
Ina Garten has no intention of emulating Julia Child in her writing or even in her TV shows. She is squarely in the tradition and style of Martha Stewart. Like Stewart, she started in the culinary business as a caterer and she was, for many years, a major contributor of culinary material to Martha Stewart's magazine. All you need to do is compare the design of Garten's books with either Bourdain's book or even Julia Child's books, and the difference is evident. Bourdain limits himself to pictures of dishes and series of pictures illustrating culinary techniques. Garten pictures lots of dishes, but she also pictures lots of pottery, table settings, and flowers as well. Each chapter has a prelude on marginally culinary matters. The brief chapter on wine is excellent, but it could have been lifted straight out of `Martha Stewart Living' as `Wine and Food Pairings 101'. Other prefatory essays cover flower arranging, table settings, cooking schools in Paris, and cooking equipment stores in Paris.
All this means is that Ina Garten's books are as much about lifestyle as they are about cooking, and Ina will probably be the very first person to agree with this statement. And, this is a perfectly legitimate enterprise. In fact, although Jamie Oliver is an exceptionally talented chef (whose passion and skill with food may even put Bourdain in the shade) writes books that are as much about lifestyle as they are about cooking. It's just that it is a different lifestyle than the one being celebrated by Ms. Garten.
I believe the recipes in all of Ms. Garten's books are very good for the home cook. As she says in many of her books, these recipes were done for 60 servings a day at her shop, `Barefoot Contessa' so they had to be simple and they had to be good. This doesn't mean I didn't find a few oddities here and there, especially in her headnotes to some recipes. One puzzling comment was her apologizing for using cremini mushrooms as an unusual ingredient in a recipe, when I can find cremini mushrooms in every larger food store in the Lehigh Valley, including ones which make no pretense to carrying gourmet ingredients. A few pages later, she uses celery root, fennel, morels, and Belgian endive in recipes. All of these ingredients are either hard to find or expensive. Another puzzle is her blanching thinly sliced fennel bulb for a fennel salad. Neither Marcella Hazan nor mentor Lydie Marshall blanches fennel for their several salads that use this ingredient. I know exactly why Garten does it, because I considered doing the same thing when making Mme. Hazan's fennel salads, but I just couldn't bear giving up the fine crunch of raw fennel. The solution is to slice very, very thinly and possibly to salt the fennel and let set as you do for cabbage in making cole slaw.
Another oddity with Ms. Garten's recipes is that although she emphasizes easy recipes, her Moules Marinieres (Mussels in White Wine) recipe has many more ingredients and a slightly more complicated procedure than Tony Bourdain's recipe for a dish of exactly the same name. Personally, I would go with Bourdain's recipe as it adds the wine right after cooking the shallots in butter in order that the wine will deglace the pot and almost all alcohol will cook off before more ingredients are added to the pot. Ms. Garten uses the very understandable technique of mixing olive oil with the butter for the initial sautee, and the wine is added mixed with water, tomato, and spices. Bourdain's recipe is simpler, but requires just a little more attention and skill to attend to the hot butter and add the wine before it gets too dark. An even more interesting comparison between Garten and Bourdain is with their boeuf bourguignon recipes. Garten complains that traditional recipes that keep the dish in the Dutch oven on the stove for three hours, the meat comes out dry and the veggies mushy. I have seen this happen and it doesn't surprise me that Garten is wary of it, as her instructions are to barely cover the meat with liquid and bring to a boil, then into the oven for 75 minutes. Thus, she is treating the dish like a braise while Bourdain, who simmers the dish gently on the stovetop for 120 minutes, treats the dish more like a stew, with strong admonishments to check the dish every 20 minutes for sticking. Again, Bourdain's recipe has fewer ingredients and is somewhat simpler, as it doesn't require the oven or a step to burn off the alcohol.
This is not to say Garten's recipes are not as good as Bourdain's. Only that the two authors have two different audiences. Garten is writing for the virtual tourist in Paris and the seeker of advice for entertaining in the Parisian style. Bourdain is writing for cooks. I have done several recipes from Garten's books, including this one, and I have never been disappointed.
Highly recommended for a virtual taste of the Parisian lifestyle.
119 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2004
Believe me when I say it pains me to give Ina Gartne a 3 star review. As a cookbook addict, I would list her as one of my five favorites and long awaited Barefoot in Paris. Boy, was I pissed when I read it through. If you know anything-and I do mean ANYTHING- about French cooking; if you have another cookbook with any French recipes in it, then you really don't need this book. Turn to Julia Child, Tony Bordain's new book, Les Halles, or (gasp!) an actual French chef, like Jacques Pepin.
There is something missing here, and it's hard to put my finger on it. It lacks the freshness that her three previous books all have. There is nothing here that I haven't seen a hundred times before. Croque monsieurs? Creme brulee? Steak bearnaise and soupe au pistou? Please, Ina; you're insulting our culinary knowledge.
On top of the oh-so-obvious recipes we have to listen to her chatter "All my life I dreamed of an apartment in Paris, and now I have one, on the Left Bank!" Despite my devotion to her first three books, the constant referrals to ritzy East Hampton, working at the White House and Steven Spielberg always annoyed me.
I give this book three stars because like her other books, I'm sure the recipes work. But that's about it. I found very little new to learn here. Every time I go to open it up, I change my mind and turn to my other new cookbook, Feast, by Nigella Lawson. Trust me, she serves up a far more interesting, entertaing book that gives way more for your money!
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2004
I am true-blue Ina Garten follower! I have been watching her for years and have each of her (equally) amazing books. I find her style and way to welcoming and educational. She has NEVER presented something that I haven't been able to make on my own. Yes - sometimes her ingredients are on the wicked side - but, there is nothing that is keeping you from altering some of the cream and butter steps. Ina is all about doing what feels and tastes good to you. She is never pushy or overbearing.
"Barefoot In Paris" is her newest venture - and I think one of the strongest in her collection. I loved all the personal commentaries before each of the sections (To Start / Lunch / Soup & Salad / Dinner / Vegetables / Dessert) and all the wonderful recipes that are like a passport to Paris.
Some highlights of the book include:
Blue Cheese Souffle
Mussels in White Wine
Lentil Sausage Soup
Endive, Pear & Roquefort Salad
Chicken w/Fourty Cloves of Garlic
Roast Lam with White Beans
Salmon with Lentils
Brussels Sprouts Lardons
Chocolate Orange Mousse
I also really love her "Ingredients you'll want to try" section as well as the "If You're Going" section with amazing tips and places to visit, should I ever get my dream trip to Paris. But - until that day I can book with Ina and take a mini-vacation with amazing new book.
Congrats to Ina on her new accomplishment!
45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2004
This book is much like Ina's other books in that it has very clear instructions, lots of color photographs and a lot of her personal opinions. The recipes are not, I repeat not, pure French, but one talented woman's unique take on them.
Ina has inhereted a style that began with the original Loaves and Fishes, The Silver Palate, etc. If you have liked the food you have made from the recipes in these books and you generally like French food, you should enjoy this book. Fans of her other books will enjoy this as well. I have.
I tend to buy a lot of cookbooks. Too many as a matter of fact. Over time I tend to cull my collection. I know that this, as are my other books by Ina, will be a keeper.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I adore and respect this author so much. Follow her show on the Food Network and recommend all her books to people all the time.
Unlike many Americans who profess to know France and her food, the author is the real McCoy, going so far as to have a home there.
Her books are easy to read and her recipes are full of nothing but the freshest items, along with easy to follow directions.
Watch her show on the Food Network and one quickly sees that she isnt afraid to be human. She 'oops' when she has flour flying, or something misses the bowl, just like the rest of us. She makes it fun to try new foods.
This is a book that goes well with the best seller Why French Women Don't Get Fat.
As for the recipes, I love the Blue Cheese Souffle on page 50 that is simple and delicious. Mussels in White Wine on page 68 is something living here in California is a treat to make. And loving cauliflower like I do her Cauliflower Gratin on page 156 is a recipe I make a lot, even though I admit the one I make is a tad different. And anyone who loves true French food should approve her Brioche Loaves on page 92. I use Brioche for my bread pudding. And her Boeuf (Beef) Bourguignon recipe is like the one I have used for decades and is a winner, and on page 120. Go back a few pages to 113 and another favorite of mine is Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic. Garlic mellows as it roasts so do not fear a sharp bite. Lastly her dessert section is wonderful simply because the desserts are not heavy, but refreshing and a perfect end to a meal.
PS: The photos are perfect and if I do say so the author and her husband look like newlyweds and so in love, which is such an added treat.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2005
I must concur with what others have said. In summary, this book is a very enjoyable read, with fabulous photographs--it doees make you want to hop on a plane and visit Paris! The food styling and photographic manipulation of the food are simply magnificent...Ina owes a HUGE debt to these people! Having said that, I too am getting a wee bit tired of all the name-dropping. Does the fact that Steven Spielberg's wife desires to take classes at a certain cooking school give that school more credibility ?! [and note that she is first of all, Steven Spielberg's wife!...not Kate Capshaw...this is of secondary importance...shame on you, Ina!!!] And, it is wonderful for Ina that she has an apartment on the Left Bank in France...but the majority of us who buy her books do not, and have no access to some of these fabulous ingredients (which I'm sure make a huge difference in the final taste of the recipe, especially when the recipe is extremely simple). I have no other French cookbooks, so I can't evaluate how "French" her recipes are, but I will say that some of these recipes seem like repeats from her other cookboks (with possible slight variations). I heartily endorse her first three cookbooks--especially the very first one. I use them constantly. They compliment each other very well (though there are a few crossover recipes between books--my only complaint). I love Ina. I love watching her show. I have prepared a few of the recipes from this lastest book, and they turned out quite nicely, but I can tell I will not be reaching for this one as often as her others. If you love Ina Garten, love taking vicarious trips through the magic of books, and have space on your shelf for another book, then buy this cookbook. Otherwise, stick with her other books. Bon appetit!
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2004
As endearing as Ina is, she missed the mark with this collection of recipes. Her enthusiasm is evident, and she obviously had a great time putting it together, but I agree with the previous remark that there are few recipes I am eager to try.
If you are new to French cooking or are put off by the haute cuisine attitude of French chefs, you might find the narrow focus useful, and her charm and practicality will put you at ease with the classic recipes.
But if you are looking for something innovative, pass this one up. I'll keep my copy because it's signed, but I'm going back to Julia for French country.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2006
My only regret about this cookbook is that I have neglected for so long to type my review. I really love Ina Garten, her cookbooks, and her Food Network show. She has such a relaxed, engaging, lovely way about her, and it certainly translates to her recipes. I am a fairly adventurous cook, and so have used lots of complicated recipes, and respect many of the chefs cited in the very thorough review above by B. Marold. In my opinion, though, this cookbook is absolutely tops for recreating the taste, feel, and experience of French bistro food. Also, every single recipe I have made turns out beautifully every time. I place a very high value on reliability, but an even higher value on taste, and this book delivers both! Highly recommended!