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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook Paperback – April 18, 1995


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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook + Chez Panisse Café Cookbook + Chez Panisse Vegetables
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (April 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679758186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679758181
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

This timeless addition to the Chez Panisse paperback cookbook library assembles 120 of the restaurant's best menus, including galas, festivals, and special occasion meals that have become such gustatory celebrations. A full range of menus is featured, from picnics to informal suppers. Line drawings.

More About the Author

Alice Waters is the visionary chef and owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. She is the author of four cookbooks, including Chez Panisse Vegetables and Fanny at Chez Panisse. In 1994 she founded the Edible schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, a model curriculum that integrates organic gardening into academic classes and into the life of the school; it will soon incorporate a school lunch program in which students will prepare, serve, and share food they grow themselves, augmented by organic dairy products, grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish - all locally and sustainably produced.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
There's a special reason we go to the books of the great chefs. It's not to throw a meal together in 2 minutes, or to make sure we will find a dish we can cook with no trouble in two pans in our kitchens at home. It's to look inside an imagination and see what someone can achieve with ingredients and passion when it's what they do all day, every day, with devotion.
As Nigella Lawson said about another writer, "I often cook, if not directly from it, then inspired by it (which is more telling)". This is a truly inspiring work, one you will go back to again and again. From the buckwheat crepes with glaced fruit and eau de vie, to the amazing amazing fish soup, simple dishes with corn and over the top reworking of french classics, the judgement of flavours and textures is perfect. Ignore Water's fetish about perfect lettuce, read it, and just go to the kitchen. 10 stars out of five, the best of all the Waters books.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I enjoy reading this cookbook more to gather ideas than to find recipes I want to cook. Alice Waters describes how she and her team at Chez Panisse created many of their memorable meals, what inspired them, the problem that arose, and how they worked around those problems. What she doesn't write about as much is the actual process of preparing the food--the recipes. Of course, for some of these menus, it would be virtually impossible to create in a home kitchen, or to have access to the ingredients (a pig feed a diet heavy with garlic comes to mind). Good ideas for the knowledgable cook.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Norman Hanson on December 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is one of Alice Waters' early books, and it shows, as compared to the later ones. Many of the recipes are complicated, and involve ingredients that are not easy to come by, even in NYC. I read it more for amusement. The later books (Vegetables, Fruit, Cafe), are much more user friendly and result in great dishes. I wouldn't recommend this to someone new to her philosophy of cooking, or who doesn't have serious kitchen experience.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rose City Reader on October 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
American foodies owe a debt of gratitude to Alice Waters. She is the patron saint of California cooking, or new American cooking, or whatever you want to call it. She's the one who gave us goat cheese croutons, roasted beets, mache, and so many other now-ubiquitous dishes. "Former Chez Panisse chef" is just as much a brand name as the brand named meats and produce she serves at her restaurant.

For those reasons, I actually read The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook cover to cover, the way one reads an MFK Fisher book - to get an understanding of the cook's philosophy as well as recipes. Both women write in a formal style and have strong ideas about ingredients, preparation, presentation, and consumption. Unfortunately, Water's writing is more spare, perhaps as befits a patron saint, and lacks the pithy humor that leavens Fisher's books. Reading her prose is more like learning a lesson than being entertained.

Which may be why this book struck me as an essential book for someone who wanted to learn to be a restaurant chef, but not particularly useful for someone cooking at home. Most of the menus require some final preparation of the next dish after the preceding one has been served - possible in a restaurant, but not much fun at a dinner party if the cook wants to eat with the guests.

The individual dishes are also complicated or labor-intensive, causing me to often think as I read, "I'd eat that if someone made it for me." Waters is particularly fond of leg of lamb, lobsters, and quail and her recipes for these show the difficulty in preparing them at home. First, most of the lamb recipes call for spit-roasting the leg of lamb. She even explains how to build a spit. In my spit-deficient kitchen, those recipes are not possible.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a lot of good sense and good food in this book, but the California style is getting a bit past mark of mouth, if you'll permit an archaic phrase/pun. I've made a few of these dishes, and they're fine, but somehow this isn't the book I pick up and flip through, asking myself, "what's for dinner?" With Jody Adams, Daniel Boulud, and Pat Wells on the shelf, I'm not sure I'd call this a "must have" addition. But, if you're a Waters fan, go for it .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Colton VINE VOICE on June 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Some of the other reviewers have taken issue with the complexity and raw material requirements of some of the recipes, and it's true that most of us don't have access to all of the ingredients that are available to a premier restaurant near California's coast and amazingly rich farmlands, and most of us don't have a professional cook in the kitchen all day every day to make stocks, tend reductions, etc. (or the desire to be that cook, for that matter). You may not be up to, or inclined to make, a roast suckling pig. But there are still many recipes in the book that are within reach of an able home cook and the local grocery and farmer's market, and you will almost certainly find something in it to add to your repertoire. But the primary reason to buy the book is to be inspired by, and learn from, Alice Waters's extraordinary gift for bringing together dishes that complement and enhance each other. A random example: artichoke tart, charcoal-grilled duck breast, potato and wild mushroom gratin, and raspberries and crème fraîche. Doesn't that sound fabulous? Do yourself and those you feed a favor--get this book.
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