127 of 134 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
What a thoroughly delightful book to read. The book is divided into four sections. The first three sections are: Introduction (worth reading on its own for this history of Lebovitz's background and move to Paris), Ingredients (where he provides a thorough discussion of what he considers the major food items most kitchens should possess - and how to buy the best examples of each food!), and Equipment (outlining most of the standard items one would expect to find in a kitchen, along with a few things I had not considered - such as a mortar and pestle).
The rest of the book contains 100 recipes divided by type: Appetizers, First Courses, Main Courses, Sides, Desserts, and Pantry. Amid the recipes the reader will find one-page interjections where the author discusses a few of his kitchen ideas. In the Appetizer section (for example) there is a page titled "Man versus Machine" where the author does a comparison of his Cuisinart with the mortar and pestle. While he prefers the Cuisinart for most jobs, using the mortar and pestle yields chunky (read "better") guacamole and pistou. This is an example of how this books serves more than just a cookbook filed with recipes.
When I was a college student I managed to live in Paris for 2 years, studying classical piano at L'Ecole Normale de Musique Cortot in the 17th arrondissement. I am envious of David Lebovitz for finding a way to maintain a life in Paris, something which in addition to his cooking skills is quite commendable.
I enjoyed reading the entire book. I don't often keep copies of books I've read since I rarely re-read one. However, this book is definitely one which will remain on my kitchen bookshelf since it's such a brilliant guide to some wonderful French recipes which will satisfy even the most sophisticated and refined taste buds.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for making this book available for review.
94 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
I have relied on David's blog for recipes and restaurant recommendations. I have owned a series of his cookbooks, mostly the dessert ones. This book is his magnum opus. it is warm, comforting, and full of soul. And extremely delicious details as to how to simply make stunning food. I don't write many reviews. But I simply had to say something about this. It's extraordinary.
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2014
Don't miss out on this fabulous cookbook by David Lebovitz, his writing is terrific as he shares his stories and experiences as an ex-pat in Paris & it has some great photography too making it a great gift for the cook on your list!
I made the quiche on p. 155 exactly as described and it is truly delicious! The crust came out light and flaky complementing the rich quiche ingredients. Because it is so rich and filling we froze a portion of it to eat later since it's just the two of us and there's more than enough for 6 to 8 people if you are serving it with a salad & some wine! 'Can't wait to make more of the recipes and the desserts!
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
This is my new favorite cookbook. I can't put it down and I keep making things from it. The herbed pasta is fantastic -- it uses the perfect proportion of wet to flour, and I like the unbleached flour/semolina combination. It's simple, but that's the point of most of these recipes: simple but creative is easy to achieve and delicious. The coq au vin received raves in my house. As did the carrot cake. And the baba ganoush! I've tried many techniques before, and his is the absolute best for making it at home.
The book itself is beautiful. That's not a requirement for a great cookbook, but it's a nice bonus. It has a cool layout and pictures -- and I love the matte finish paper (for lack of the correct term). It makes the photos unusually gorgeous, and different from most cookbooks with glossy pages.
What's also great is that he gives weights in addition to measures. Cookbooks that do so are much better than those that do not. I'm amazed editors don't insist on it more. Giving weights means the recipe is both easier to make and more likely to turn out correctly.
74 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2014
Because I so loved his "Sweet Life" I bought this book, based solely on my complete and utter enjoyment of that book. This is a beautiful book without a doubt, but the thing I found sadly lacking was the thoroughly delightful and quirky humor of his accounts and anecdotes in the first. I remember reading the first book and wanting to get on the first flight to Paris, forgetting everyone and everything with a Madeline pan in hand and just my naive enthusiam.... Those hilarious stories of his experiences, and cultural clashes of being an American in the City of Light were just so much wonderful escapism I longed that the book might not end.
This book is more recipe based and his storytelling is of course, more mature and established, (as it should be)...but the enchantment of the element of the new expatriate reveling and blundering in his new environment is no more. The recipes I find, are also not French, per se, but reflect the more cosmopolitan influence I am sure Paris is experiencing in this age. I, however, long for the real, historic Parisian experience in cooking, so the recipe choices also do not suit my expectations for the book. If I wanted International cooking influences I could get cookbooks that reflect those Countries' recipes. I expected French recipes so here I am also disappointed.
Overall it is a nice book-- I display it prominently on my coffee table, but it's not up to what I had hoped for. I still love Lebovitz and hope he reads this review and releases his third book more true to the form that made me a fan...
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2014
I've got to start by saying that My Paris Kitchen has a long list of great qualities, from it's masterfully simple instructions to it's gorgeous glossy photography. The little stories which bulk up the book are written with magic and humour, so that My Paris Kitchen reads almost like a fairy tale. Having received my copy the day before an international flight, I took it on the plane with me, and lost myself it Lebovitz's France. The dishes themselves, lovingly prepared and photographed for the reader, looked achingly good.
The book will always have a place on my shelf, but maybe not the shelf in my kitchen. The reason for this is that, quite simply, that none of my family members have actually liked the food! The kids, who happily down everything from salad to sushi, mac and cheese to Moroccan lamb, cupcakes to cauliflower, didn't like Lebovitz's mustard chicken, or his quiche. They carved through the Broccoli I served last night, but couldn't get passed the first rib of the author's recipe for caramel ribs. Ribs! What kids don't like ribs? To add insult to injury, it turns out mine DO eat ribs; they've declared that both Grandma's and Aunt Karen's are to die for, but these ones... not so much. Having burned my finger making these ones (Not that THAT is Lebovitz's fault), and having wasted a couple hours of my life to make them, I'm sufficiently annoyed enough to come on here and do my first ever Amazon review. The bottom line; GREAT book, mediocre cookbook.
I'm clearly an island here, so if you've got cash to burn, buy it and see for yourself. Your kids may love it! Mine, however, and my (tactful! but honest) partner, have put My Paris Kitchen out to pasture.
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Like another reviewer, I bought this book because I enjoyed David's "Sweet Life" so much. However, I have read this book from cover to cover, and find it to be a disappointment.
Some of the content seems like "filler" to me, like the "Equipment" section, especially when he mentions that you probably already have most of what he suggests having in your kitchen. Folks buying cookbooks like this already know what sort and how many skillets, knives, pots, pans and other kitchen tools they need. This is pretty much needless information for the average home cook, and even more so to those who've ventured into French cuisine, but it uses up six pages of the book.
The other part I consider filler is the "pantry" section. It's also weird. He describes the section as "an assortment of things which are part of my pantry and I like to keep on hand in the refrigerator or freezer," and it includes hard-cooked eggs, poached eggs and whipped cream. Poached eggs and whipped cream are not pantry items - they can be made ahead and held briefly, but they're not kept "on hand" in the refrigerator. Both eggs and cream appear in his "ingredient" section, but once the eggs are cooked and the cream is whipped, they re-appear in the "pantry" section where boiling and whipping is explained in detail. And why is vinaigrette listed as a pantry item when he says that, like the French, he never makes it in quantities to keep on hand? Same thing for homemade mayonnaise that keeps for only a 2-3 days in the fridge. Store-bought mayonnaise can be kept "on hand" in the fridge, but homemade mayonnaise is not a pantry item. It's contradictory, and all the how-to stuff might be useful information for a novice cook, but I wasn't expecting this book to be a basic cooking primer like "The Joy of Cooking." This strange section uses up 13 pages of the book, with an entire page devoted to a recipe (yes, a recipe) and instructions for making whipped cream, and another page on how to boil eggs.
I purchased this book as a gift for my daughter who, like me, adores French food and is experienced at cooking it. And while I understand that globalization has influenced modern French cuisine, not all the recipes in this book are a reflection of that. Many of the recipes are NOT what modern Parisians eat - the author says so himself - "Parisians haven't developed a taste for smoky food" - but because he likes smoky food he includes a recipe for smoky pulled pork. What?
When I discovered that "My Paris Kitchen" included recipes for dukkah, tabbouleh, naan, humus, beet hummus, fattoush, shakshuka, baba ganoush, Israeli couscous and smoky barbecue-style pork, I decided it wasn't French enough for the gift it was intended to be. Don't get me wrong, I've made several of the recipes, and they were all good, and his stories are delightful, but the recipe collection is not what I'd expect from this book's title, nor from one selling on Amazon as a French cookbook. So I've found a spot for it on my bookshelf where I can refer to it whenever I'm looking for a Middle Eastern/North African recipe, or Texas ribs, or California-style French crepes (?), or Italian crostini.
🌀 It's worth noting that many of the favorable reviews here are from folks who were given a free copy of this book by the publisher or by a book blog "in exchange for a review." You might think nothing of this scheme, but to me they're shill reviews, and an illusory way to skew the star rating. Search among the customer reviews for the word "review" and you can see all these compulsory reviews for yourself - notice they are missing the "verified purchase" indication, and the lion's share are rated 4 or 5 stars. The current "most helpful" review of this cookbook was submitted by a person who seems to be a hired book reviewer. Follow the link to see all his reviews, and you'll see that he only reviews books - nothing else - all provided to him for free in exchange for a review, and none below a 4-star rating. In fairness to this book/author, this is done a lot on Amazon, but it's still not right. Some of these type reviews might be honest, but one thing for sure - they're all obligatory.
23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
David Lebovitz is my favorite cookbook author ; he writes beautifully, he is witty, and his recipes work. What more can you ask for? I love him as much as Laurie Colwin and that is my highest compliment.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2014
David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen is a masterpiece.
Like most cookbooks of today, it's full of delicious-sounding recipes and gorgeous photos, but what makes this book special is Lebovitz. His writing is fluid and engaging, as always, but his love for his adopted city and food raises My Paris Kitchen to another level. Lebovitz's storytelling chops are on grand display as he paints word pictures of his Paris apartment and trips to the markets; his recipe instructions are clear, concise, and easy to follow.
I also love that he doesn't focus exclusively on traditional French cuisine, instead giving the reader a feel for what it would be like to be a guest in Lebovitz's own kitchen -- multicultural influences and all. I plan on trying several recipes from this book, and that is something I have never said about a French cookbook before.
I just loved reading My Paris Kitchen from start to finish and will do so more than once. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys conversational cookbooks, French cuisine, or just flat out great food writing.
** NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley; the opinions expressed are my own.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2014
I am a big fan of cookbooks, well…all books actually, but cookbooks are always in the top five on my reading list. Picking up a cookbook I can happily sit and skim over the recipes and photos, enjoying the occasional personal remark introducing a particular recipe.
My Paris Kitchen is in a special category. It’s not just a compendium of recipes and photos, it’s a story line about where to shop in Paris, narratives of merchants and the conversations they have with their customers. It’s a memoir of cooking, shopping and living in Paris. The book is filled with colorful photographs of the city and of course, the yummy dishes Lebovitz prepared.
Like many of Lebovitz’s fans I follow him on Twitter and read his blog. He was quite kind in taking the time to respond to a comment to me on Twitter. A photo with a batch of lovely Madelines was posted and I remarked that I was disappointed mine came out burnt on the edges. He let me know Madelines aren’t always an easy concoction and answered a question. That was quite nice as I imagine he is inundated with requests and comments.
The first recipe I tried from this book was the eggplant caviar. We were having grilled lamb so eggplant was a natural as a side dip.
Recipe and photos may be found here: