Most helpful positive review
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Ann Hall Every, CCP
on September 18, 2011
I believe I have been a secret Francophile for a lot of my adult life as a cook - at least when it comes to French cuisine and culture. Despite my Central Euro roots, and my passion for many other cuisines of the world, I have cooked many of the French classics that Richard Grausman, the author of "French Classics Made Easy" includes in this 'keeper' of a book. The best known classics such as Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cassoulet, Navarin D'Agneau to name a few of my favorites, are all included in this treasure of a book.
Actually, there are 250 French recipes that Grausman delivers to the home cook using ingredients readily available at your local supermarket. Add to that, the illustrated step-by-step techniques (for example, "How to Line a Tart Pan" as illustrated and described on page 65) and others throughout the book all add to the excellence of this cookbook.
The extent of Grausman's attention to detail in writing this book is to be commended. For ease of recognition to his audience, the recipe titles are in English, followed by the French translation. In addition, a personal favorite feature of any cook book is that the Table of Contents be comprehensive enough to include the page number where the reader can find not only where a particular Chapter can be found, but what page to find a particular category within a Chapter. That may seem like a "nit-picking" feature for me to get excited about, but trust me, when you've read, judged, and used as many cook books as I have in my professional culinary life, that feature is very useful to the reader!
First Courses (Page 14):
Main Courses (Page 86)
Vegetables & Other Accompaniments (Page 170)
Pastries & Desserts (Page 210) (Pastries Page 212 and Desserts Page 260)
Basics (Page 300)
The mystique behind French cuisine was attempted to be de-mystified by Julia Child decades ago through her TV shows and many cookbooks. However, as much as I admire all that she did to introduce the American palate to French cuisine (not an easy task to take folks from the ordinary and sometimes mundane "American" cuisine to Coq au Vin!) I believe that there were many home cooks who were still intimidated by some of the lengthy and complicated steps and some ingredients that may have been difficult to come by decades ago when Julia Child was in her heyday. Do you remember when the only mushrooms you could buy were those that came in a can? I do!
What Richard Grausman has done in writing French Classics Made Easy is to do just that!