- Paperback: 291 pages
- Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Later Printing edition (January 11, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0894806238
- ISBN-13: 978-0894806230
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bistro Cooking Later Printing Edition
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In this warm look into the world of French bistro food, eminent food writer Patricia Wells reveals her love for this simple, robust cuisine in a collection of recipes garnered from France's best bistros. From Warm Potato Salad with Herbed Vinaigrette to Lamb Stew in White Wine to Pear Clafoutis, Wells admits her preference for hearty, homey bistro dishes. Through clearly written recipes, Wells encourages cooks to buy the best ingredients and turn them into fragrant, warming dishes. Each recipe has a note telling where it came from and alluding to its flavor. Pithy quotes throughout the book relate to bistro style--in cooking, serving, and eating--and historical quotations give a cultural connotation. Wine choices reach deep into the heart of France, from a crisp white from Provence such as a Chateau Simone with lamb, to a good Côtes du Rhone (Cru du Coudelet) with guinea hen. From the introduction to the last dessert recipe (for Prunes in Red Wine), Bistro Cooking is sure to please not just the novice in the kitchen, but the experienced cook as well. --Susan Loomis, Amazon.co.uk
From Library Journal
Bistro cooking is currently the rage, and the author of The Food Lover's Guide to Paris (Workman, 1988. 2d ed.) and . . . to France (Workman, 1987) is just the person to write about it. Wells has collected recipes from bistros all over France, as well as adapting classics and creating some new dishes of her own. This is real food, simple but not without sophistication, usually uncomplicated, and always delicious: Watercress and Potato Soup, L'Ami Louis's famed Roast Chicken, a Tarte Tatin of pears. With a text that is a pleasure to read, as always, and 200 recipes for what is really "French home cooking at its best," Wells's latest is highly recommended.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book embodies the atmosphere of a bistro in look, content and spirit. The book is printed on thick paper that does not have smooth edges (are these called deckled edges?). This gives the book a dated but timeless look, and revived in me warm memories of reading menus in French bistros and the delights that followed. Not only do French Bistros serve good hearty meals, they are also utilitarian in nature where the high finesse of formal French dining is shed for a more relaxed and efficient experience. In keeping with that utilitarian spirit, the book covers have flaps that can be used to earmark pages.
A Bistro above all is a gathering place for the locals to converge and chat over a fine meal. To capture that atmosphere the book employs an easy conversational style. Recipes begin with an anecdote about the recipe or the bistro. This is followed by a uncomplicated but hearty recipe. There are tips, suggestions for alterations, and quotations scattered throughout the book which make it interesting enough that I often read it before bedtime. What I also like is that the recipes are collected in simple menus from various Bistros. Using a menu and following the recipes one can easily create a 2-3 course meal. The wine suggestions are a welcome inclusion.
The recipes themselves are simple. They often call for just two main ingredients (not counting the basic oil/butter and salt/pepper), and yet result in unqualified successes. So far I have tried the Chicken with Garlic, Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar, Potato Salad with Herrings, and a few Potato Gratins. Each time we have ending up licking our fingers wondering how can something this simple taste that good! I would suggest using the best ingredients that one can find. Although this is advisable in any kind of cooking, it is particularly true for recipes such as those in this book that use so few ingredients.
After laboring on an exquisite recipe from Julia Child, I have to admit to the occasional thought crossing my mind, “ Do French families really cook this way every day?”. I now know the answer. Bistro Cooking is a very good book for every day cooking. It is also an excellent resource for those who are beginning to cook. To such novice chefs I urge do not let the lack of pictures dissuade you. In the end what you really want is food that tastes great without a lot of effort or fancy ingredients. This book, with its succinct and precise directions, shall deliver on that goal over and over again. Success from this book shall bolster your confidence and help you tackle recipes from other authors mentioned earlier.
I generally wait to try many recipes from a book before reviewing it. But my enthusiasm for this book got the better of me. I look forward to cooking more from this book, to rekindling fond memories of my favorite French Bistros, to sharing this food with friends and family, and to licking my fingers in contentment afterwards. Mangez bien, riez souvent, aimez beaucoup!
The book is divided into a number of sections: hors d'oeuvres and first dishes, Soups, Salads, Pastas, Seasonal vegetables, Potatoes, Eggs (cheese, tarts), Fish and shellfish, Poultry, Meat, Desserts, and Pastries.
The recipes provide hearty food. Soups? An onion soup; Monkfish soup with garlic cream; Leek, potato, and bacon soup. Fish? Codfish with herbed tomato sauce is intriguing (tomato and fish don't seem to go well together to me--based on some unfortunate dining experiences--but this works! Other examples: Smoked haddock with Savoy cabbage; Oven-roasted scallops. Poultry? Chicken with tarragon vinegar; Chicken sautéed with scallops; Roast duck with olives. And on it goers.
The recipes are easy to understand. Not all are quite so simple, but the array of recipes provides a good resource for the kitchen.
All in all, a nice work.
I bought this book on a whim about 20 years ago when I was starting out on my own, and today I credit it with teaching me to cook. This book caused me not just to like, but to love, French cooking, which I had previously regarded as either too tyrannical or just not that interesting. Thanks to this magnificent little volume, French cooking is now a very easy and natural part of my life.
This book absolutely oozes charm, and Mrs. Wells' enthusiasm and joy on the pages of it are infectious. One of the best things she does is to just plain motivate you to get in the kitchen and start cooking. The spirit of this book is light-hearted and fun, but make no mistake, Mrs. Wells' knowledge of French food, and of cooking in general, is anything but light. Bistro Cooking is the reference I turn to again and again when I want an honest-to-goodness recipe for a dish such as a roast chicken, a potato gratin, a chocolate cake or a fruit tart. (The chocolate mousse on page 244 is the most divine thing I have ever tasted.) The recipes are authentic, tried and true, and cannot be beat.
What is it that makes this book so special? Maybe it is the vintage-looking black and white photos, the charming illustrations or the quaint French menus. Maybe it is the total do-ability of the recipes, for surely there is not a reason in the world why you couldn't make any of them? It's not really a question of whether you CAN make the recipes in this book, it is a question of whether you can RESIST making them. Maybe it is all the helpful advice that is so comfortably offered throughout that gives one the sense that they would acquire more practical culinary know-how by using Bistro Cooking than they would if they were to enroll in cooking school for a year. Maybe it is the feeling you get when you sit down in your favorite chair and open the book that you are stepping right through its pages into another time and place. Yes, I admit that armchair travelers such as myself will love it, but they will also love knowing that Mrs. Wells is an absolute authority on French food and that the recipes in this book are so good they should be considered the standard by which other recipes for the same dishes ought to be judged. Or maybe it's the feeling you get from reading her description of a dish that the recipe that follows for it is not just a formula for making very good food but surely for happiness itself. Maybe it's everything.
I can promise you this: This is a cookbook unlike any you have ever owned and if you acquire it, it will occupy a very special place, not only on your bookshelf, but in your life and in your heart.