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Bistro Cooking Paperback – Illustrated, January 11, 1989


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Bistro Cooking + Patricia Wells' Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy + PATRICIA WELLS AT HOME IN PROVENCE: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Later Printing edition (January 11, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0894806238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0894806230
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this warm look into the world of French bistro food, eminent food writer Patricia Wells reveals her love for this simple, robust cuisine in a collection of recipes garnered from France's best bistros. From Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette to Lamb Stew in White Wine to Pear Clafoutis, Wells admits her preference for hearty, homey bistro dishes. Through clearly written recipes, Wells encourages cooks to buy the best ingredients and turn them into fragrant, warming dishes. Each recipe has a note telling where it came from and alluding to its flavor. Pithy quotes throughout the book relate to bistro style--in cooking, serving, and eating--and historical quotations give a cultural connotation. Wine choices reach deep into the heart of France, from a crisp white from Provence such as a Chateau Simone with lamb, to a good Côtes du Rhone (Cru du Coudelet) with guinea hen. From the introduction to the last dessert recipe (for Prunes in Red Wine), Bistro Cooking is sure to please not just the novice in the kitchen, but the experienced cook as well. --Susan Loomis, Amazon.co.uk

From Library Journal

Bistro cooking is currently the rage, and the author of The Food Lover's Guide to Paris (Workman, 1988. 2d ed.) and . . . to France (Workman, 1987) is just the person to write about it. Wells has collected recipes from bistros all over France, as well as adapting classics and creating some new dishes of her own. This is real food, simple but not without sophistication, usually uncomplicated, and always delicious: Watercress and Potato Soup, L'Ami Louis's famed Roast Chicken, a Tarte Tatin of pears. With a text that is a pleasure to read, as always, and 200 recipes for what is really "French home cooking at its best," Wells's latest is highly recommended.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Patricia Wells is a journalist, author, and teacher who runs a popular cooking school--At Home with Patricia Wells--in Paris and Provence. Salad As A Meal is her twelfth book. She won the James Beard Award for The Provence Cookbook, Patricia Wells at Home in Provence, and Simply French. Also nominated for Beard Awards were Vegetable Harvest and The Paris Cookbook. With her husband, Walter, she is also the author of We've Always Had Paris . . . and Provence. The French government has honored her as a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, recognizing her contribution to French culture. A former New York Times reporter, she is the only foreigner and only woman to serve as restaurant critic for a major French publication, L'Express. For more than twenty-five years she was the global restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune.

Customer Reviews

If the only recipe you tried were the one for Mme.
Jo-Anne Barnard
Recipes are easy to follow and use easy to find ingredients, and I have yet to flub a dish out of this book.
keiyam1
This is Patricia Wells' third book on French cooking and the fourth of her books I am reviewing.
B. Marold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 87 people found the following review helpful By keiyam1 on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
I received this book as a present nearly 10 years ago. In my library of over 200 cookbooks, this is the absolute champion when it comes to simple, very "French bistro" dishes to prepare for family & friends. Recipes are easy to follow and use easy to find ingredients, and I have yet to flub a dish out of this book. The pie/tart shell recipes included in the basics section, in particular, are definite staples to any cooking-lover's repertoire (I have them memorized -- I've made them so many times). I frequently give this book to friends who "want to learn how to cook".
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
My wife and I own many cookbooks, but none has come close to giving us the pleasure we have found in so many of the recipes in Bistro Cooking. We are both rank amateurs in the kitchen, but we have been able to handle virtually every recipe we've tried in this book (I did give up after three attempts at the potato pie from L'Ami Louis). The book includes Ms. Wells' favorite recipes from France's great bistros. Mind-blowing potato gratins, delicious fish recipes, hearty stews, unbelievable roast chicken, a strange but fantastic dish of poached eggs served with a simple red wine sauce, winning desserts, it really goes on and on. Ms. Wells is a great writer, very entertaining, and the book is full of wonderful tips. Even seven years or so after we bought our copy of Bistro Cooking, it's always a special day at our home when we make something from this cookbook.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jo-Anne Barnard on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you only own five cookbooks, this should be one of them. The recipes are pure pleasure -- comfort food at its finest. I have taken years of French cooking lessons and still turn to this book every time I want to make a simple meal for my husband & I to enjoy after work. If the only recipe you tried were the one for Mme. Caretet's potato gratin, it would be worth the purchase of the book. Everyone that tries them says they are the best potatoes they have ever had. But don't stop there -- the book presents you with a wealth of eating adventures.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I bought this on a lark, since I was interested in a French cookbook that served real, down to earth French food. And I found it.
The section on gratins is great. The seafood section will have you screaming for more. In the book there is a recipe for a roast chicken that is covered in herbs...that one is to die for. it's been out Christmas dinner for 4 years running.
Most of the recipes are simple; many use off the shelf items you'd find in most pantries. Her instructions are a breeze to follow, and the little insights about the origin of the recipes add something to the way the book reads.
I like it and use it often. Several folks are getting this one for Christmas this year!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Paulygraph on December 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a great cookbook: clear instructions and fanstastic results. I have not been disappointed with a single recipe. At least 10 recipes from this book have become mainstays for me--more than any other cookbook I own. I rave about this book all the time. Several friends also own this cookbook and have a similar opinion.
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46 of 53 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is Patricia Wells' third book on French cooking and the fourth of her books I am reviewing. Of her four books I have seen, this seems the most accessible and most useful to the largest number of people. This book presents recipes from small eating establishments from all regions of France, including Paris, Lyon, Provence, and southwest France. Therefore, it's contents are a much broader sampling of recipes than the books I have seen on Joel Robuchon, Paris restaurants, and Provence home cooking.
Like all of her other books, the table of contents and selection of recipes therein follows a conventional pattern with chapters on Appetizers, First Courses, and Palate Teasers; Soups of the Day; Market Basket Salads; Pastas; Seasonal Vegetables; Potatoes; Eggs, Cheese, Terrines, and Tarts; Fish and Shellfish; Poultry, Chicken, Duck, Guinea Hen, and Rabbit; Meats, Roasts, and Daily Specials; Homemade Desserts; and Pastries, Bread Dough, Sauces, and Stocks.
The first thing that stands out is the wide variety of dishes. The next is the relative simplicity of the recipe techniques without sacrificing anything to quality and respect for ingredients. I compared Wells' pot-au-feu recipe in this book with the recipe in Julia Child's `Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and found the attention to detail was as good or greater in Wells' book. At the same time, Wells is not entangling us in a lot of complex preparations. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Wells and Child agree on a method for making Crème Fraiche that does not require day or more to wait for the result.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "crystal65" on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite French cookbooks. This is not haute cuisine, but instead is the friendly family cooking of France's famous bistros. This is roast chicken and beef daube, potato gratin and vegetable tian. This is hearty, earthy delicious food to feed your soul as well as your stomach. Patricia Wells has lived long enough in France to know the ins and outs of French cooking, but still retains her American perspective. Scattered throughout the book are trucs or tips on everything from how to tell if your eggs are fresh to how to store leftover peeled garlic. Not to be missed:
Sauteed Potatoes with Garlic and Walnut Oil, Bistro d'a Cotes Chicken in Wine Vinegar.
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