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The Paris Cookbook Paperback – May 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

American-born Paris dweller Patricia Wells has turned her love of French food into a remarkable series of culinary works. The Paris Cookbook reflects that affection and her familiarity with the Paris food scene, offering 150 of its best recipes. From famed chef Joël Robuchon's sublime Creamy White Bean Soup to a hearty flank steak dish courtesy of Wells's butcher; from bistro Chez Benoit's Asparagus and Green Bean Salad to confectioner La Maison du Chocolate's Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse, the book abounds in wonderful food. Wells's achievement, here as elsewhere, is to make her recipes genuinely accessible to the average cook; well-chosen and lucidly written, they invite even the hesitant into the kitchen with the promise of great eating.

Following the courses of a typical Parisian meal, from appetizers through desserts, the book presents three-star dishes like Arpège Eggs with Maple Syrup, as well as more humble fare, including an exemplary Lemon Chicken and socca, the delicious Provençale pancakes. A section on pasta, rice, beans, and grains offers such standouts as Flora's Polenta Fries. Desserts also receive their due with delights like Fresh Fig and Almond Gratin. Illustrated with photos that evoke Parisian life at the market and at the table, and containing a wealth of tips and helpful information, wine recommendations, plus the addresses of the dining spots mentioned, the book is a worthy addition to Wells's dependable store of cooking guides. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Drawing on more than 20 years of experience as a food writer in Paris, Wells (Bistro Cooking) presents cherished recipes from famous Parisian restaurants, such as BenoŒt Guichard of Jamin's Tarte Tatin (Caramelized Apple Tart), Jo‰l Robuchon's Creamy White Bean Soup, Caf‚ Bonaparte's Chicken Salad and Le D“me's Sole Meuni‚re. She ferrets out the best recipes from the authority venues, such as La Maison du Chocolat's Bitter-Sweet Chocolate Mousse and Chef William Ledeuil's Fresh White Beans with Mimolette, Roquette and Pistachio Oie. If readers can get over some haute cuisine pretension (a Black Truffle Mayonnaise recipe suggests using "eggs that have been enclosed in a glass jar with the truffles for 1 day"), they will find down-to-earth recipes such as The Market Gardeners' Zucchini and Curry Soup and The Taxi Driver's Wife's Secret Mussels. Regional France is well represented by the likes of southwestern polenta (H‚lene's `Polenta' with Sheep's-Milk Cheese) and seafood from Brittany (Memories of Brittany Lobster with Cream). Wells has a knack for choosing simple yet elegant recipes quintessentially French with reliable results in the North American kitchen. She follows a growing trend of replacing red meats (although there is a short chapter on them) with poultry, seafood and vegetables (a whole chapter is devoted to potatoes). This book is a must for any Francophile yearning for Brasserie Balzar's Midnight Onion Soup, and for visitors who want a great resource for where to buy and how to handle the spectacular foods in Paris. Photos. (Nov.)Forecast: Wells's fans will be pleased, for this is very much in the tradition of her other books. Despite a glut of French cookbooks, Wells is the real deal, and her latest offering will satisfy its readership, which includes anyone who loves France, or who lives there and wants to learn more about its foods.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Kyle Cathie (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856264777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856264778
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wells has assembled a fine collection of recipes culled from the many wonderful restaurants in Paris, whose chefs she seems to know, and from other sources such as French magazines and newspapers. What she seeks to present is a sampling of quintessentially French urban fare that reflects the tastes of a populace enamored with daily marketing, locally grown, fresh produce, and distinctive saucing. The recipes are well written, clear for both newer and more seasoned cooks, and generally straight-forward, non-complex.
Her instructions provide the rationale behind each dish, and her selections stray from the familiar French cuisine found in the myriad other cookbooks on the subject. The book has a distinctive appearance, with B&W photos displaying the cooks, restaurants, and markets rather than the food. Wells is a connoiseur of food and other social features, and her writing is mildly pretentious, but the food is accessible and the dishes come out tasty and reliable.
The book contains separate chapters for Appetizers, Salads, Breads, Vegetables, Potatoes, Pasta/Grains, Soups, Fish, Poultry, Meats, and Desserts. Its offerings are produce friendly so that it works well for vegetarians. Interesting recipes include the Aspargus Veloute, a soup made from the oft-discarded stems of the spears; Carrot Salad with Cumin and Lemon Juice; Spinach, Bacon, Tomato and Avocado Salad; Asparagus and Arugula Salad; Zucchini Stuffered with Goat Cheese and Mint; Jerusalem Artichoke Puree; Cooked Carrots with Orange and Cumin; Potatoes Anna; Penne with Mustard and Chives; Polenta Fries; and Pumpkin Soup. There are several bean dishes and polenta recipes.
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Format: Hardcover
The recipes contained in this book are numerous and diverse. However, unless one is experienced in French cuisine, it may be difficult to achieve the exact same end result as one who has experience, such as the author. The recipes are certainly original and authentic.
As dedicated chefs will know, one cannot rush in the preparation of these recipes and the downside, for most of us who are career people, is finding the time and energy to prepare most of the recipes contained here. They are by no means ones you can whip up in thirty minutes or less. Some take the best part of the day to prepare so perhaps these recipes are best set aside for special occasions, week-ends or for some event where time is not a factor. "The Paris Cookbook" will make a great addition to any library. Most of the recipes tried to date are excellent such as the Bonaparte's Chicken Salad and the Zucchini and Curry Soup; however, you might want to pass by the White Bean Soup - it left a lot to be desired and had the same appeal as wallpaper paste! Oh, well, we cannot expect every recipe to be perfect.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so impressed with this cookbook. First, I adore Paris and love the art of French cooking. I learned French style cooking years ago and I love to watch how my French friends put together a seemingly simple meal that turns out so impressively. And the black-and-white photos of Paris that illustrate the book are great reminders of visits past.
The key to these seemingly simple recipes in "The Paris Cookbook" is good ingredients, a knack for combination, some fundamental traditional ideas, and a passion for excellence. For example, some of the most interesting recipes to me were for peasant cooking from Provence. There was a soup of spelt (a wheat-like grain with many healthful properties.) It was combined with barley and the green French de Puy lentils to make a Mediterranean-style meal-in-a-pot soup. The use of spelt is more common in Germany --however the Provencal use it as one would use rice, in risottos or as here, in a soup. There is also a recipe for a simple version of bouillabaise fish soup that I really want to try.
The other recipe that got me excited was for an ordinary gazpacho cold tomato soup but...with a savory mustard ice cream as a garnish. Now THERE'S an interesting idea. If you have ever had a blob of cream in a tomato-based soup, you know how nicely cream blends and smooths the flavor of the acid fruit. But to add the cream in the form of ice cream, but unsweetened and with a spicy mustard, now that is exciting! I will be making that for my next summer dinner party. I also got the idea to modify the recipe and make wasabi green tea ice cream (wasabi is the green Japanese mustard you get with sushi.) I can pair that with a cold cucumber-crab soup.
That's what I adore about this cookbook.
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Format: Hardcover
Nobody has a finger on French cooking like Patricia Wells and certainly nobody has the pulse on the Parisian food story like Madame Wells. She has been at the epicenter of the Parsian restaurant scene and has incredible access to the powers that be. Patricia Wells not only is a superb journalist but her taste in food is au courant. She has gathered recipes that not only enliven the palate but also are very practical. The recipes are uncomplicated and have easily obtainable ingredients. The book has the flavor of Paris - one can almost be there and smell the glorious aromas. This is not a coffee table type cookbook. It is a black and white themed portrait from its blurred image of the Eiffel Tower to the intimate photographs around and inside the greatest food scene in the world.
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