- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang; Edition Unstated edition (April 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584795719
- ISBN-13: 978-1584795711
- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #335,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook Hardcover – April 1, 2007
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About the Author
JACQUES PÉPIN has been cooking professionally and teaching others how to cook for more than 50 years. Before moving to America in 1959, he was the personal chef to three French heads of state. In America, Pépin shared the spotlight with Julia Child on their series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. He has published more than 20 cookbooks, is currently a dean at the French Culinary Institute, and teaches culinary arts at Boston University. In 2004, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor. He lives in Madison, Connecticut, with his wife, Gloria.
Top customer reviews
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After living for over thirty years in the USA Pepin still radiates and personifies "French Chef" to many Americans. That more of his professional life has been spent in America than in France, and that his food has become a smooth hybrid of classical French and contemporary American sensibilities, and so would not be seen as really "French" by audiences in France, is beside the point. He brings, in every moment of his being, and in his approach to culture and life, a timeless French appreciation for not only the better but also the more genuine things in life.
Pepin's charm and indelible Frenchness are not his only assets. There are many charming people in the world, many of them French, presenting themselves smoothly all the time. What makes Pepin different is his biography and the singular grace, humility, good humor, common sense and perceptive understanding that he has shown in translating the essentials of the classical French cooking in which he was schooled into the world of the America that he immigrated to in the early 1960s.
That America, a food-industrial complex wasteland at the time, where home cooking was thought to be "woman's work" or lowly paid labor, and the foods available at grocery stores were depressing, austere, bland and, for the most part, overly processed by a food industry that had only recently turned from mass manufacturing rations for soldiers, was ripe for the encouragement and the example shown by the likes of Child, Beard and Pepin.
It's easy to dismiss Pepin as a TV chef, or his food as just "home cooking". But this book shows the richness of his background, the charm and warmth of his family and family story, the charm and rusticity of his many lovely amateur paintings, and the simple human joys of his lifestyle. It conveys, through several essays, his knowledge of food and food culture.
The dishes involved are not meant to be fine cuisine but instead everyday fare. That does not make them humble or ordinary. It makes them wonderful expressions of how to bring joy to the table with both everyday elements and a sensibility that appreciates and values that joy being brought to that table, for himself, for his family and for his friends. They are all well worth looking at, and this book, a handsome and lovely book that succeeds in a world of people trying to make lovely and handsome books, is well worth the price and worth having for the inspiration its author brings to the reader.
I'll try the simple things often, and I always find recipes in his books that become favorites. I recommend "The Essential Pepin" for the first timer.
At the time I bought this book, Amazon had it at the bargain price of $30. I doubt I would have paid $100 or more for it sight unseen.