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Simply French: Patricia Wells Presents the Cuisine of Joel Robuchon Paperback – October 25, 1995


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Simply French: Patricia Wells Presents the Cuisine of Joel Robuchon + PATRICIA WELLS AT HOME IN PROVENCE: Recipes Inspired By Her Farmhouse In France + Bistro Cooking
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hearst Books; 1st edition (October 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688143563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688143565
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This new release by the author of Bistro Cooking could inspire a cooks' triathlon--a stampede to the closest bookstore, a sprint to a neighboring market, then back to the kitchen and any one of Wells's 125 magnificent recipes. Adapting the work of Robuchon, chef and owner of Paris's three-star restaurant Jamin, the American, French-by-adoption Wells exchanges the easy swagger of her Bistro recipes (most of which assured cooks that preparing great meals is uncomplicated) for an almost religious insistence on detail. "Simplicity" here is no synonym for streamlining. Rather, it inspires a quest for pure and intense flavor. Thus a recipe for roast chicken specifies exactly when to season the bird and precisely how to position it during and after cooking--with superb results. Not all recipes are as basic; foie gras and truffles crop up repeatedly. Nor is this a tutorial. Wells supplies insightful tips but assumes that the reader has mastered standard techniques. Just about every offering is a knockout, but a few deserve special mention: a potato gratin slightly different from and even better than the one in Bistro ; a blanquette of veal; five variations on the madeleine; and a bittersweet chocolate mousse distinguished by the incorporation of stiffly whipped cream. Menu plans and wine suggestions are included. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Robuchon, chef/owner of the restaurant Jamin, is generally acknowledged to be the best chef in Paris, if not all France. Wells, author of Bistro Cooking ( LJ 12/89) and The Food Lover's Guide to Paris (Workman, 1988. rev. ed.), has spent the last four years working with Robuchon to produce this celebration of his cuisine. Robuchon is indeed a gifted chef, and some of his food is extraordinary. Many of these recipes, like Salmon on a Bed of Creamy Cabbage, are quite easy to prepare, while others, like Rabbit with Fava Beans and Baby Onions, are unmistakably chefs' dishes (Robuchon has a staff of 40). And foie gras, truffles, and lobster are favorite ingredients. However, the recipes are clearly written for home cooks, with explanations given for the various procedures and helpful sidebars, and it all makes fascinating reading. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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The book contains several sidebars on general techniques.
B. Marold
Ms. Wells did a wonderful job at translating Monsieur Robuchon's three star cuisine for home cooks.
"kusinero"
Having worn out my first copy of this book, I have just purchased another.
James Ellsworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This third book by food journalist and teacher, Patricia Wells is a presentation of the Cuisine of Joel Robuchon, who is, next to Paul Bocuse, the best known French chef alive today. As Bocuse appears to have retired, the book touts Robuchon as the best working chef in France.
I am always suspicious of a book's quality when I can't find something new or remarkable to me in the first few pages. I had no such problems with this book. The depth of insight into fine cooking from Robuchon was easily equal to some of the best I have seen from Thomas Keller, Jeremiah Tower, and Richard Olney. Robuchon's contribution to the words `simple' and `French' together is an emphasis on a style of cooking which preserves and enhances the flavors of each individual ingredient rather than letting their properties be lost in a great gemish (that's German, not French) of indistinguishable flavors. Robuchon cites this as one of the great contributions of `nouvelle cuisine', although he claims that French cuisine has moved on from the excesses of this movement and now seems to be on more rational ground. He makes the remarkable observation that French cuisine before 1950 was intent on making food soft enough to satisfy a population with poor teeth. This is the reason for all the thick, smooth sauces and probably the reason why the braise is the most distinguishing method of French cooking. One may say that the braise is to French cuisine as stir frying is to Chinese cuisine.
This book is filled with little techniques that seem so unusual at first encounter. Given the least amount of thought, the methods become so obvious one cannot see why they (I) did not think of them ourselves. One example is in the preparation of a simple pastry crust (Pate Brisee).
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ronald M. Spiegel on November 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm a professional private chef with an international clientelle. This book is more than just a cookbook, it's a way of life. Its all about paying attention to details.
The book is worth every penny just to read the interview with Patricia Wells; and Joel Robuchons' thoughts in the introduction. I've been re-reading just these two sections for over ten years now and am continuosly inspired.
The photographs are amazing, even frameable. One in particular I have removed and used as a cover shot for my private notebook. Its of a bottle of wine, a piece of cheese and loaf of bread. But oh..... what wine, cheese and bread! I always look at that picture to remind me whats its all about.
My copy has fallen apart long ago. The pages are now in clear sheet protectors and I travel with this book in this condition all over the world. I never leave home without it.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By William Richards on January 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have the French version of this book (it sells well here in France - a good sign) and have just sent the English version to my US-based daughter at her request! It's really excellent, the recipes are delicious (do them once as prescribed, then adapt according to your own inspiration) and beautifully presented. One word of warning, it's not a basic cookbook; although some recipes are simple, it's more a book for an experienced cuisine fan (hence my four star rating, rather than five). Bon appetit !
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
I won't tell you you can't do these recipes - with some hard work and time you can. Furthermore, the recipes are delicious. But this is celebration cooking - and I just can't afford the time or money to go elbow deep into this book very often (with the exception of a few recipes) the way I can with Ms. Wells Trattoria cookbook. So when you buy this, look forward to the tips, the good writing, some mouth-watering ideas, and some wallet lightening trips to the store for oysters and truffles and fattened goose liver. And then set aside some major amount of time to 1) plan out how you are going to get a full meal to the table in the right order and 2) cook, cook, seive, and cook some more.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "kusinero" on December 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book taught me the importance of even the smallest of details in cooking. Most of the recipes have that "extra step" that a lot of people just don't bother to do because it seems trivial. But they do make a lot of difference.
The recipes here are refined, even the more rustic ones are elegant enough for a nice formal dinner. And best of all, they are all easy to do!
Ms. Wells did a wonderful job at translating Monsieur Robuchon's three star cuisine for home cooks. This book is a must.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first encountered this book while working at a bookstore several years ago--a customer ordered it, and while it was waiting behind the counter, I thumbed through it. Though the various dishes look fairly daunting, I was impressed enough that I ordered it, too. What luck! What appears daunting is easily handled with Wells' guidance. I find her preference for simple yet elegant foods to be ideal, and she demystifies the Robuchon aura a little bit, bringing the impossible down to the level of the probable. Some of the items (like the "Lemon Lover's Fresh Lemon Tart") are HARD to make, but if you've got enough patience, you'll pull it off. I've had the cookbook for about three years, and have probably made about 40 of the recipies. They're incredible--every one is well-constructed, well-described, and yields amazing results. I can't recommend this one highly enough.
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