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French Bistro: Seasonal Recipes Hardcover – February 7, 2012
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“If you’ve never had the pleasure of being there – and I think it’s always a pleasure – then this new book, French Bistro: Seasonal Recipes, will make you feel as though you’re there. Yes, yes, I know that reading about a restaurant and cooking its recipes is not the same as really being there, but hey, it’s not bad. Not bad at all. Especially when the book is as good – and as evocative – as this one.” ~Dorie Greenspan
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet this book is so intriguing that some of you may consider a reservation to Paris to visit the elegant, upscale bistro Paul Bert (take a stack of Euros). Suggested wine pairing will also be a problem unless you live in Paris. Little tidbits under Dash of Advice are great. Inconveniently for the reader, many page numbers are missing (aesthetic reasons?). Reading this book, you feel your presence in a Paris bistro. (As appears in Portland Book Review.)
The recipes here will not awe or astonish you. And that is precisely the point. The intent is to create simple, wonderful food rather than feats of technical wizardry.
The text is also a joy, explaining the essential elements of the bistro - such as the chef (of course), the servers, the décor and even the aromas. A good bistro will always welcome guests with the scintillating scents of fresh cooked food, conspicuously absent in more "refined" establishments.
A excellent collection of photographs of the wonderful dishes and interiors of the author's own bistro as well as a number of other Parisian favourites provide a wonderful tour from which you will leave inspired and hungry.
Now, I'm currently living in Portland, Oregon, which many people consider to be a "foodie" city. Maybe in regards to the restaurants, but esoteric grocery shopping - no. Like squab, sweetbreads, pheasant, rabbit, duck breast? Good luck finding them here. Maybe the last two, but I've seen them for $32 and $16 respectively. I'd love to cook them, but, forget-about-it at those prices. Sure, I could special order them - if I wanted 20 pound quantities of each. But I don't have enough freezer space.
Undoubtedly the situation here is likely everywhere in the US except bigger cities like New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco. Since this cookbook is likely aimed at the UK also, good luck finding ingredients there, too. I spent six months there last year and about the only place you can find the stuff I listed before is in the London markets. (Although I was lucky to score poussin at Waitrose.)
All my gripes aside, this is a worthwhile book and if you've eaten at any of the restaurants (I have), it's a nice souvenir of Parisian bistros. I must give credit to the author for the hard work he's done over the years to establish his restaurants and to keep alive the tradition of the French bistro. Five stars to Bertrand Auboyneau for that!
Instead, what you get are 200 pages of text about the essence of a French bistro -- all the elements from the owner to the wine list -- accompanied by _gorgeous_ photos of 14 bistros and delicious food. The writing draws you in, reminding you why Paris is such a foodie destination and celebrating what a bistro offers: "It is a cuisine free of complexes, making a meal of offal or turning out value-for-money dishes from forgotten or under-valued cuts of meat -- or even leftovers, like the Parmentier. The bistro is opportunistic, making the most of seasonal produce and market stands." But it is the photos that make me wriggle like a happy puppy: chalkboards listing today's specials, a basket of truffles, photos of the completed dishes. I wallow in the notion of a resource listing that includes a "salted herring specialist." It brings me wholly into the mood to rush to Paris _right now_ and eat these dishes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book. I actually ate twice at the restaurant, Chez Paul Bert, in Paris (11eme arrondissement), where this book originates from. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Chadi Salem
Found this book to be very interesting. Not only are the recipes great but there is lots of information about Paris. A really great addition to my cookbook collection.Published 6 months ago by Peter
The recipes in this book for classic French bistro dishes are simple and straightforward --- so much so that ingredient substitutions and slight cooking style adaptations will not... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Pastry Princess
This book has an even amount of recipes and stories. It makes a wonderful coffee table book. If you like simple bistro cooking it should be in your collection.Published 20 months ago by T. R. Hall
It was under my expectations unfortunately. It is not a book for cooking but for knowing some bistro specials. I have given it awayPublished on December 21, 2012 by MC